The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) bars public companies from bribing foreign officials in order to obtain or keep business. Violating the FCPA can lead to civil and criminal penalties, sanctions, and remedies including fines, disgorgement, and/or imprisonment. Examples of recent FCPA cases include:
- Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. – The firm agreed to pay more than more than $1 billion to settle SEC charges that its senior executives bribed high-ranking government officials in Malaysia and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to obtain lucrative business from 1MDB, a Malaysian government-owned investment fund, including underwriting approximately $6.5 billion in bond offerings.
- Alexion Pharmaceuticals – Boston-based pharmaceutical company Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. agreed to pay more than $21 million to resolve charges that two of its subsidiaries made payments to foreign government officials to secure favorable treatment for Alexion’s primary drug, Soliris.
- Herbalife Nutrition, Ltd. – This direct selling company agreed to pay more than $67 million to resolve charges that its Chinese subsidiaries made payments and provided meals, gifts, and other benefits to Chinese officials in connection with obtaining sales licenses, curtailing government investigations of Herbalife China, and removing negative coverage of Herbalife China in state-owned media.
Both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice enforce the FCPA, but only the SEC has a whistleblower program to reward people who report foreign bribery. Whistleblowers with knowledge of FCPA violations may be able to make a claim to the SEC whistleblower program, which rewards whistleblowers whose information leads to recoveries against wrongdoers. Whistleblowers do not need to be U.S. citizens, and foreign whistleblowers often have key evidence of FCPA violations.
At Newman & Shapiro, we can help you evaluate your information and prepare a strong submission to the SEC. Importantly, we can also help to protect your identity, and advise you on your rights against retaliation. If you believe you have evidence of foreign bribes by a company listed on a U.S. exchange, please contact us for a consultation to discuss the possibility of reporting that illegal conduct to the SEC whistleblower program.