Matteson Ellis Comments on Historic Ralph Lauren NPAs in Law360

"Ralph Lauren FCPA Deal Puts NPAs in Fashion"

In this article, Matteson Ellis comments on the recent nonprosecution agreement (NPA) reached by the Ralph Lauren Corp. and the SEC, the first such agreement handed out by the agency. The company agreed to disgorge $700,000 to settle claims by the SEC that it bribed government officials in Argentina. The company also reached a similar NPA with the DOJ, making it the only FCPA defendant in history to receive a double-NPA.

The SEC praised Ralph Lauren for its cooperation and assistance during the investigation, including its reporting of the initial findings of its internal investigation to regulators within two weeks of discovering the bribery. Ellis said Ralph Lauren’s strong response -- including the unusually rapid two-week turnaround -- may be difficult for other firms to replicate. Still, he said, it offers a valuable and highly detailed blueprint for best practices.

"The SEC is sending a strong message to the market that it is prioritizing speed and cooperation," Ellis said. "Recognizing that, other companies might also choose to quickly disclose violations."

Ultimately, enhanced cooperation may lead to greater use of NPAs by the SEC, Ellis added. "Based on the trends we’re seeing, I suspect it will," he said.

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