James Tillen was quoted regarding Hitachi's settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for alleged improper payments to South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The SEC uncovered internal documents highlighting the company's strong connections with the ANC, which is significant because under the FCPA, there merely has to be the intention to improperly influence an official or political party to bring an enforcement action. "[I]f if there was jurisdiction for an anti-bribery case, all the SEC has to show is that there was an intent by Hitachi to induce Chancellor House to influence a government decision, not necessarily that it was successful, or that the foreign entity was even capable of influencing the decision; it is sufficient that they had the intent to do it," Tillen said.
According to Tillen, the investigation speaks to a broadening reach of the SEC, and the fact that the investigation was undertaken at all demonstrates the power of the FCPA. "The accounting provisions of the FCPA are incredibly powerful in that a lot of cases that have bribery smoke but not necessarily bribery fire are able to be prosecuted," he said.