Fifth Circuit’s Rafoi Bleuler Decision Underscores Extraterritorial Reach of FCPA and Money Laundering Law

By reversing the dismissal of charges of money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiring to violate the FCPA brought against two foreign nationals with little or no physical presence in the United States, the Fifth Circuit seems to have made the government’s task in pursuing such charges a bit easier. The appeals court’s decision in United States v. Rafoi Bleuler “affirmed the broad reach of the FCPA and the jurisdiction of U.S. prosecutors to hold foreign nationals criminally liable in the United States,” said Megan Cunniff Church, a partner at MoloLamken. One of the implications of the Fifth Circuit’s decision is that “the Government will continue to rope in non-U.S. persons into its FCPA/money laundering conspiracy cases via its bare bones pleading style” and “FCPA co-conspiracy/aiding and abetting theories,” predicted Rebekah Poston, a senior partner at Squire Patton Boggs. See “Exploring the Shift in the DOJ’s Prosecutorial Reach of Foreign Defendants” (Apr. 27, 2022) and “DOJ’s Long Arm Over Latin America: Recent Trends and Future Risks From Extraterritorial Application of U.S. Laws” (Sep. 30, 2020).

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