A Summer Update on FCPA: Part 2

Law360

08.15.2017

In this article, Marc Alain Bohn and Michael Skopets analyze the duration of government investigations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and review recent Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) staffing changes and public comments related to the FCPA. "Based on an analysis of publicly available data, corporate FCPA investigations rarely last less than one and a half years, with the average investigation dating back to 2006 lasting approximately 3.6 years," Bohn and Skopets wrote. "It is too soon to determine whether investigations under the Trump administration will end up being shorter in length," the authors observed, but "the rise in declinations we have observed over the past year, along with recent statements by DOJ officials, suggest that the agencies are focused on closing out the investigations in their pipeline more quickly, and there may be a quantifiable reduction in the average duration of FCPA investigations in the long term."

"One factor that has likely affected the overall pace of FCPA enforcement under the new Trump administration — including the number and duration of open investigations — is the turnover of SEC and DOJ personnel," Bohn and Skopets said. Examples cited in the article include the departures of DOJ Fraud Section Chief Andrew Weissmann and the Department's first ever compliance consultant Hui Chen, among other staffing changes at both the DOJ and SEC. Despite the changes in key positions at the agencies, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Trevor McFadden recently delivered public remarks emphasizing the DOJ's commitment to enforcing the FCPA and global cooperation to reduce fraud and bribery. "Official statements aside, we expect any changes in the agencies' FCPA enforcement practices to become clearer as the SEC and DOJ continue their FCPA enforcement efforts under new leadership and as more enforcement-related positions at both agencies are filled," they wrote. Click here to view Part 1 of this two-part series.