Flurry of Enforcement Activity Suggests No Letup
Although the number of enforcement actions is down slightly from last year’s pace, the spring months saw a flurry of enforcement activity. Neither the Department of Justice (DOJ) nor the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show signs of letting up on their FCPA enforcement focus. The DOJ settled three significant corporate matters, including a settlement with Alcoa involving a criminal fine of over $200 million. And, in keeping with recent pronouncements, the DOJ also continued to prosecute individual defendants.
Significant Appellate Victories for DOJ and SEC
In a rare appellate decision interpreting the FCPA, the Eleventh Circuit endorsed the DOJ and SEC’s view of when a state-owned enterprise qualifies as a foreign government “instrumentality” under the FCPA, paving the way for additional enforcement actions in this area. Likewise, outside the FCPA context, the Second Circuit reaffirmed the SEC’s discretion in settling civil matters, rejecting a more aggressive role for district courts in policing agency actions.
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