Dec. 1, 2021

Credit Suisse Slides Settlement for Mozambique Deal Gone Wrong Under the Wire

Credit Suisse Group AG announced a global settlement with U.S., U.K. and Swiss authorities on October 19, 2021. Then, just a little over a week later, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco issued a memorandum to DOJ prosecutors outlining several significant policy changes, including how the DOJ will consider prior misconduct and when it will require a compliance monitor. The timing of Credit Suisse’s settlement seems fortuitous then, coming just days before these policy updates which could have significantly impacted the outcome for a bank that has found itself in hot water multiple times in recent years. In this second article unpacking Credit Suisse’s settlement, we look at whether the bank snagged a good deal considering the underlying conduct and whether it might have fared even worse if its settlement had come a few days later. In the first article about the settlement, we looked at the controls failures that lead Credit Suisse into trouble and how it managed to avoid FCPA charges from the DOJ. See “Credit Suisse Settles Bribery Allegations With SEC but DOJ Focuses on Investor Fraud” (Nov. 10, 2021).

The Engel List Foreshadows U.S. Enforcement in Central America

The United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act, passed by Congress in December 2020, provides for “targeted sanctions to fight corruption in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras,” and requires a report identifying individuals in the Northern Triangle who, according to the State Department, engaged in corruption or undermined democracy. Then, in July 2021, the State Department published what has come to be called the “Engel List,” which named 55 purportedly “corrupt and undemocratic actors for Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.” In a guest article, Martin De Luca, Wade Weems and Scott Nielson of Kobre & Kim look at how the Engel List and the Biden administration’s strong focus on corruption in the Northern Triangle could lead to increased enforcement of the FCPA and money laundering statutes. Additionally, they discuss how these changes might provide political or business rivals in the region an additional U.S. forum to file complaints, and how U.S. counsel can assist listed individuals in seeking recourse. See “Latin American Corruption in the Crosshairs of the Biden Administration” (Apr. 14, 2021).

Nigeria’s Proceeds of Crime Bill Would Centralize Asset Recovery in a New Agency

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari made fighting corruption a priority when he came to power, yet distributed processes and ownership of asset recovery remain challenges. The Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Agency Bill 2020 (PCRMA Bill or Bill) introduced by Buhari in October 2020 aims to streamline responsibility, strengthen Nigeria’s ability to go after the proceeds of crime and proposes the creation of a new agency, as well as a slew of other legislative changes. The Bill is not as comprehensive as many international bodies would like to see, however, and some in Nigeria fear it will dilute other agencies’ power. We spoke to Ekomobong Ekpro, a U.K. and Nigerian-trained lawyer who serves as the legal officer and secretary for the compliance committee at oil and gas company Ringardas Nigeria Limited, about the current state of anti-corruption enforcement in Nigeria, the need for the Bill, and what it hopes to accomplish for Nigeria’s evolving anti-corruption landscape. See “Regional Risk Spotlight: Ayoka Akinosi Discusses the Crackdown on Corruption in Nigeria” (Feb 24, 2016).

Taking a Measured and Forward-Looking Approach to ESG Compliance

Between the global pandemic, social justice movements, extreme weather events, political upheaval and supply chain disruptions, the last 18 months have seen a fast-tracked focus by investors, consumers and the public on corporate sustainability and ethics. But adopting such environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards is challenging and fraught with risk, especially if done in a rush, according to three ESG experts who spoke on the pitfalls and best practices in this emerging field during a recent program sponsored by Strafford CLE Webinars. The panelists all advised taking a proactive, data-forward approach now before regulatory mandates become the norm. See “Taking Advantage of the Intersection of ESG and Compliance,” (Apr. 28, 2021).

Recent Speeches Outline the Ethos, Direction and Priorities of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement Under Gurbir Grewal

New SEC Division of Enforcement Director Gurbir S. Grewal has signaled the direction of the division’s efforts in two recent speeches at separate Practising Law Institute programs. The remarks highlight the public’s flagging trust in the securities markets and outline steps that the SEC will be taking to enhance investors’ confidence. Grewal emphasized proactive compliance, cooperation with the SEC, gatekeeper accountability and the imposition of meaningful penalties as key paths toward boosting public trust. This article, originally appearing in our sister publication the Private Equity Law Report, summarizes the key takeaways from Grewal’s recent statements. See “SEC Commissioner Peirce Shares Views on Personal Liability for CCOs” (Nov. 11, 2020).

Foley Hoag Expands White Collar Bench in New York

Lynn Neils joins the firm with more than 25 years of experience advising on the FCPA and other regulatory matters. For insight from Neils, see “Six Things Every Business Lawyer Needs to Know About the FCPA” (Feb. 19, 2014).