Miller & Chevalier’s Ellis Offers Insights from Former SAP Employee’s FCPA Guilty Plea and SEC Settlement

In a rare joint effort to pursue an individual, the DOJ and SEC recently reached settlement agreements with Vicente Eduardo Garcia, a former SAP vice president who orchestrated a scheme to bribe Panamanian officials.  On August 12, 2015, Garcia pled guilty to a one-count Information filed in the Northern District of California, charging him with conspiracy to violate the FCPA.  On the same day, the SEC entered a Cease-and-Desist Order in which Garcia agreed to pay a civil penalty of more than $85,000 based on substantially similar allegations.  The enforcement actions demonstrate that companies may be able to avoid liability even when their employees engage in corruption, and serve as a warning about the types of schemes prevalent in Central America.  The Anti-Corruption Report recently spoke with Matteson Ellis, a member of Miller & Chevalier and an expert on FCPA enforcement in Latin America.  Ellis explained how this case fits into a broader pattern of FCPA cases coming out of Central America in general, and Panama in particular.  He also discussed whether further actions related to Garcia’s scheme are likely and what the SEC and DOJ may be signaling about companies’ compliance programs.  See also “Corruption Risk and the Changing Legal Climate in Latin America” (Feb. 19. 2014).

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