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The V&E Report
Insights in Government Enforcement and Investigations

“Third Time’s the Charm?” SEC’s Latest Attempt to Pass a Disclosure Rule Could Create New Reporting Obligations for Oil & Gas Companies

Last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) initiated its third try to pass a rule on “Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers,”1 which would govern the disclosure of payments made by oil, natural gas, and mineral extractors to foreign governments — as required by Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank”).2 The SEC’s first two attempts failed, but this third attempt may be the most meaningful attempt yet to add additional layers of oversight over multinational energy companies who seek valuable extraction rights abroad.

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FCPA Agency Theory Post-Hoskins Takes the Spotlight at FCPA Conference

The recent bribery conviction of British citizen Lawrence Hoskins created a stir among white collar practitioners because it showed that the US Department of Justice (“DOJ”) could be successful using an agency theory to prosecute individuals or entities that are outside the traditional jurisdiction of U.S. prosecutors. Last Thursday, December 5, however, Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski gave a speech at the American Conference Institute’s 36th International Conference on the FCPA, in which he suggested that DOJ does not intend to push the bounds of its jurisdictional reach and, importantly, reinforced that there are limits to how far DOJ might push the agency theory.

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Second Circuit Considers Reach of Bribery Laws Beyond U.S.

On November 7, 2019, a Second Circuit panel1 heard oral argument on whether the use of United States wire services in effecting a bribery scheme is enough, without more, to pull defendants within the scope of U.S. criminal honest-services wire fraud statutes.2 Appellants Juan Angel Napout, the former president of the South American soccer confederation known as CONMEBOL, and Jose Maria Marin, the former president of the Brazilian soccer federation known as the Brazilian Football Confederation, were convicted of wire fraud and racketeering in 2017, where after a six-week trial, the jury found that they had fraudulently awarded broadcast and media rights to international soccer tournaments to officials in Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil.

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DOJ’s FCPA Reach Over Foreign “Agents”

The Criminal Information against two former executives of Unaoil, Inc. was unsealed on October 30, 2019, laying out the U.S. government’s case against them for facilitating bribes on behalf of companies in foreign countries in exchange for oil and gas contracts.1 Former CEO Cyrus Ahsani and former COO Saman Ahsani, both citizens of the United Kingdom, pled guilty to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 78dd-1 et seq.2

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U.K.’s SFO Recognizes Expectation that Compliance Functions Will be Insulated from Routine Cost Cutting Pressures

Sarah Lawson, the General Counsel of the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”), recently emphasized that corporate compliance functions must be well resourced and that the SFO expects such programs should be insulated from routine cost-cutting pressures. This expectation parallels the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”)’s long-standing focus on corporate compliance programs and its own recent focus on ensuring that compliance functions are provided with sufficient resources.

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Commodities in the Crosshairs: CFTC Joins DOJ and the SEC to Target Commodity Traders for Corrupt Practices Abroad

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) is entering the fight against foreign bribery and corruption. That is the clear message from recent announcements as the CFTC has made clear that it wants to join the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and foreign authorities by targeting commodity firms that commit corrupt practices outside the U.S.

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