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Fry Wernick

Ephraim (Fry) Wernick Partner, Government Investigations & White Collar Criminal Defense

Fry Wernick is a partner in the Government Investigations and White Collar Practice Group. He conducts internal investigations and defends companies and individuals against government investigations into alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), anti-money laundering (AML) statutes, the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), sanctions, campaign finance laws, and other financial and corruption-related offenses. Fry also helps prepare and defend companies and individuals facing inquiries and investigations by Congress. In addition, Fry advises publicly traded and privately held companies on transactional risk, particularly concerning business transactions in emerging markets, and he helps companies develop effective compliance programs.

As a former federal prosecutor and Assistant Chief of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Fraud Section, Fry has a broad range of white collar experience and he led and supervised dozens of the Department’s most high-profile cases, including four of the largest-ever FCPA corporate criminal resolutions and dozens of individual prosecutions. Fry has investigated hundreds of cases, and he has substantial trial experience, having been the lead prosecutor in over 30 criminal trials, and he has handled over 20 appeals, including four oral arguments.

Fry is one of the few former federal prosecutors who has actually prosecuted violations of the FCPA, and he knows how the Department of Justice prioritizes and investigates cases involving alleged violations of the FCPA’s anti-bribery, books-and-records, and internal controls provisions, as well as related fraud, money laundering statutes, and sanctions regulations. Fry also has experience negotiating parent and subsidiary-level plea agreements, DPAs, NPAs and declinations under the recent revisions to the Department’s Corporate Enforcement Policy. In addition, Fry coordinated multiple cross-border criminal investigations, and he developed an advanced understanding of how foreign regulators enforce the U.K. Bribery Act, the French Sapin II, and other anti-bribery laws. Fry has been quoted as an authority on FCPA and white collar matters by the Wall Street Journal, Law 360, Global Investigations Review, The Anti-Corruption Report, The FCPA Professor, Energy Voice and other publications (2019).

Prior to Fry’s work at DOJ Criminal Fraud, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Washington, D.C. for over six years. As an AUSA in the Fraud & Public Corruption Section, Fry was on the prosecution team for the Office’s most significant corruption case, which was the largest-ever campaign finance case of its kind.

In addition to leading federal prosecutions, Fry has experience handling congressional hearings and investigations, as well. In 2017, Fry served a detail as Counsel to the Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, where he advised Senators on proposed legislation and prepared them for hearings on criminal justice and national security matters.

Experience Highlights

  • Supervised a high-profile FCPA and money laundering investigation, including charges against two senior bank executives and an intermediary, for their alleged role executing a multi-billion dollar bribery and embezzlement scheme
  • Supervised the prosecution in U.S. v. Mobile Telesystems PJSC; the coordinated resolution between DOJ and the SEC resulted in a parent-level DPA and subsidiary-level guilty plea, an $850 million criminal fine, and a three-year corporate monitorship for a Russian telecommunications company that paid over $420 million in bribes in Uzbekistan
  • Lead trial attorney in U.S. v. Telia Company AB, et al; the coordinated resolution between DOJ and the SEC, the Netherlands, and Sweden resulted in a parent-level DPA, subsidiary-level guilty plea, and a $965 million criminal fine for a Swedish telecommunications company that paid over $330 million in bribes in Uzbekistan
  • Lead trial attorney in U.S. v. Rolls-Royce plc, et al; the coordinated resolution between DOJ and the U.K. Serious Fraud Office and Brazil Public Prosecutor resulted in a parent-level DPA and $880 million global fine, and seven individuals were also charged in connection with their role in a conspiracy to pay and launder over $80 million in bribes in six different countries
  • Lead trial attorney in U.S. v. VimpelCom, Ltd. et al; the coordinated resolution between DOJ and the SEC and the Netherlands resulted in a parent-level DPA, subsidiary-level guilty plea, a subsidiary guilty plea, a $835 million criminal fine, and a three-year monitorship for a Dutch telecom company that paid over $114 million in bribes in Uzbekistan
  • Lead trial attorney in a national security counter-intelligence and FCPA prosecution of a Russian official, a U.S. company, and U.S. businessmen for conspiring to pay and launder over $2 million in bribes in connection with the transportation of nuclear fuel between the Russian Federation and the United States, yielding three FCPA-related pleas and a corporate NPA
  • Supervised the prosecution in U.S. v. Credit Suisse (Hong Kong) Ltd.; the coordinated resolution between DOJ and the SEC resulted in an NPA and $47 million criminal penalty for corrupt hiring practices in Asia
  • Supervised a major oil and gas investigation involving a coordinated prosecution with five foreign jurisdictions into approximately 15 oil and gas companies that used a corrupt intermediary company to bribe foreign officials in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia
  • Supervised a major aerospace investigation involving a coordinated prosecution with multiple jurisdictions into bribery and ITAR Part 130 violations
  • Supervised an investigation into corrupt practices in professional sports, including alleged bribery, visa fraud, sanctions evasion, and extortion by teams operating in Latin America
  • Served as a DOJ subject matter expert, delegate and negotiator on anticorruption, asset recovery, and trade matters at multiple international fora, including the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) in Paris; the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the U.N. Convention Against Corruption in Vienna; and was a U.S. negotiator for the anticorruption component of NAFTA 2.0
  • Served a one-year detail to DOJ’s Guantanamo Bay Litigation Team, where he investigated and litigated cases on behalf of the U.S. against prisoners of war and high-value detainees connected to the Taliban, al-Qaida and associated groups, and was the lead trial attorney in Khairulla Khairkhwa v. Obama, which resulted in the continued detention of the highest ranking member of the Taliban in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
  • Served as Counsel on the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), where he was the lead investigative attorney concerning abusive debt practices, ineffective oversight of dual use exports and technologies, and oversight of waste, fraud and abuse at the United Nations Development Programme


Contact Details

Washington

T +1.202.639.6730
F +1.202.879.8830
ewernick@velaw.com
2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20037
Local time: 4:56 AM
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Fry's Practices

  • The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., with honors, 2003
  • Brown University, B.A., 1999
  • Admitted to practice: Washington, D.C. and Texas (inactive)
  • Assistant Chief / Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, FCPA Unit, 2014–2019
  • Counsel (DOJ Detailee), U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 2017
  • Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, 2008-2014
  • Trial Attorney (USAO Detailee), U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Programs Branch – Guantanamo Bay Litigation Team, 2010–2011
  • Counsel, U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, 2008
  • Associate, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, 2005–2008
  • Associate and Co-Chair of Pro Bono Committee, Strasburger & Price, LLP, 2003–2005
  • Global Investigations Review Enforcement Agency/Prosecutor of the Year, 2019
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation Service Award, 2019
  • Homeland Security Investigations’ Outstanding Investigative Accomplishment Award for Financial Crime, 2017
  • Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, 2016
  • Homeland Security Investigations’ Outstanding Investigative Accomplishment Award for Financial Crime, 2015
  • Multiple DOJ Special Service Awards, 2011-2014
  • Barrister: Edward B. Williams Inn of Court, 2017–Present
  • Member: AUSA Association of Washington, D.C., 2012–Present
  • Member: Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, 2012–Present
  • Board Member: The University of Texas School of Law Alumni Board; Texas Law Alumni Association Executive Committee (2018–2020); Texas Law Washington, D.C. Steering Committee (2014–Present)
  • Board Member and Chairman: St. Mark’s School of Texas Alumni Board, 2018–Present
  • Brown University Alumni Association: Brown Football Association “Mentor,” 2010–Present
  • Triangle Cities Pro Bono Legal Clinic at St. Philip’s School: Founding director and recipient of Dallas Bar Association’s 2004 Pro Bono “Special Services Award,” 2003–2005