James Tillen Comments on SEC FCPA Message to Corporations in Law360

"SEC Flexes Bigger FCPA Muscles In $25M BHP Billiton Case"
05.22.15James Tillen commented on the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) message to corporations with respect to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations. The SEC fined BHP Billiton Ltd. $25 million for internal controls and books and records violations, which shows that the agency is prepared to impose hefty fines for compliance failures absent alleged bribery activity. In BHP's case, the SEC alleged the company created the risk that bribery could take place as the company's internal controls system failed to stop invites to officials who were directly involved in pending contracts, and the company's books and records did not accurately reflect ongoing contract negotiations. While not inconsistent with the SEC's previous actions, Tillen said the settlement is certainly more aggressive, and that the deal has now put compliance programs squarely in the SEC's FCPA crosshairs. "Forms are such a big part of compliance programs, and if they're not filled out completely and that can lead to a books and records issue, that's troubling," he said.
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