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Jenner & Block Partners Larry P. Ellsworth and Joseph P. Covington addressed a capacity crowd of more than 175 people on September 27 at a DC Bar panel discussion entitled, “Current Developments in FCPA Enforcement and Compliance Efforts: DOJ, SEC and Private Bar."
The event was held in commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Mr. Ellsworth was the moderator of the session, and Mr. Covington was one of four panelists at the event, which was held at the DC Bar Conference Center in downtown Washington, DC.
Mr. Covington is a former chief of the DOJ Fraud Section's FCPA enforcement unit who, Mr. Ellsworth explained, "was literally here at the beginning of the FCPA program. Joe has broad experience in representing companies in the international marketplace that deal with the FCPA and various import and export controls of both defense and commercial products."
Mr. Covington began with a brief historical perspective on the FCPA and later gave practical tips to deal with typical issues that can arise in an independent corporate investigation of possible illegal foreign payments, both before and after the government is involved.
Another panelist was Mark Mendelsohn, currently Deputy Chief of the Fraud Section of the Justice Department and thus one of the leading government attorneys whose task is to enforce the FCPA. Mr. Mendelsohn said that ten cases have been brought under the Act in 2007, which is a dramatic increase from the average number of cases that were brought over the first 29 years of the Act. He called the current caseload "just the tip of the iceberg" and said there are about 100 open inquiries right now concerning possible FCPA violations.
Mr. Covington heads the Firm's extensive FCPA practice and is a member of the Firm’s White Collar Criminal Defense and Counseling, Government Contracts, Defense & Aerospace and Health Care Law Practices.
Mr. Ellsworth, a member of the Firm’s Litigation Department and Corporate, White Collar Criminal Defense and Counseling, and Securities Practices, is Chair of the DC Bar’s Broker Dealer Regulation and SEC Enforcement Committee and a member of the Steering Committee for the Corporation, Finance and Securities Law Section.