Lucinda Low, William Gordon, Monica Ager, Owen Bonheimer, Michael Lieberman, Lauren Groth, Elisabeth Page, Berengere Parmly and Jeanne Cook contributed to this report.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) continued to be a hotbed of activity in 2011. Although aggregate fines fell precipitously between 2010 ($1.8 billion) and 2011 ($508.6 million), that decline was more a reflection of the anomalies of 2010 than of 2011. 2011 saw significant enforcement activity against both corporations and individuals, as well as the development of substantive legal issues that will likely have lasting effects on FCPA law and practice.
Enforcement agencies continued the trend of targeting individuals in 2011. While 16 companies were targeted in 2011, 19 different individuals were the targets of new FCPA enforcement actions.
Judicial decisions—either interlocutory rulings or trial results—were the "wild card" of 2011. Several cases featured challenges to the definition of "foreign official," specifically whether the FCPA's scope encompasses officers and employees of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). While the decisions, which are described in detail below, did not per se exclude SOEs from the definition of "foreign official," they did indicate that an officer or employee of an SOE should not automatically be defined as a "foreign official" without further analysis.