Morgan Stanley Discusses How It Escaped an FCPA Enforcement Action

In April 2012, Morgan Stanley Managing Director Garth Peterson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to circumvent Morgan Stanley’s internal controls in violation of the FCPA.  The plea was the result of his efforts to enrich himself and the Chinese official who facilitated a Shanghai real estate deal with his Morgan Stanley unit.  Notably, the DOJ indicated that it was declining to bring charges against Morgan Stanley as a result of Peterson’s misconduct.  In a recent webcast, Morgan Stanley’s anti-corruption chief, Raja Chatterjee, and its outside counsel from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, discussed the “unprecedented and important” decision not to prosecute Morgan Stanley for Peterson’s FCPA violations.  They believe that, by declining to prosecute Morgan Stanley, the DOJ has made a statement that “compliance matters” and that an effective compliance program can be a mitigating factor in an FCPA investigation.  This article summarizes the webcast with a view to identifying the lessons that can be learned from the Morgan Stanley matter.  See also “Civil and Criminal Enforcement Actions Against Former Morgan Stanley Employee Highlight the Relevance of the FCPA for Private Fund Managers” Hedge Fund Law Report (May 10, 2012).

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