"Episode 182 - Kate Atkinson on the Miller & Chevalier FCPA 2015 Summer Report"FCPA Compliance and Ethics Report
In this podcast, Kathryn Cameron Atkinson discusses Miller & Chevalier's FCPA Summer Review 2015, highlighting recent Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement actions and what they may portend vis a vis lessons learned, general trends in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) area and predictions about the status of the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and its Bribery Act.
Regarding the recent DOJ action involving PetroTiger Ltd.'s former co-CEO Joseph Sigelman, Atkinson said it was a surprise to see the trial unravel so quickly, however these types of FCPA and public corruption cases are hard to prove generally. "I think in the FCPA world, the Sigelman trial may, in the short term, cause the [Department of Justice's] Fraud Section to be somewhat more selective in what may go to trial," she said. "As a practical matter, it's not an option for them to abandon the trial route…. It's like football -- you have to be able to run and pass, or the defense only has to worry about one of those things."
According to Atkinson, in terms of the overall number of announced enforcement actions, 2015 has been a slow year. "I always hesitate to say that means it's going to be a slow year, because we always see a little spike in the fourth quarter. But I think one question is whether we are seeing this correlation of more declinations and fewer enforcement actions announced. There are always cases in the pipeline, so we'll see what happens as we go forward. But it's sort of interesting to watch the statistics," she said.
One of the areas where compliance practitioners have remaining questions and lingering confusion is the UK Bribery Act and whether the SFO plans to move forward more aggressively. Atkinson provides an overview of the Tesco matter to make predictions about where the SFO may be headed for the second half of 2015. "I think that is a very muddy crystal ball. It continues to be so. If you look at the discussion of the Tesco matter, that just shows to me that there is a pretty high level of chaos about how to press forward," she said.