In order to provide an overview for busy in-house counsel and compliance professionals, we summarize below some of the most important international anti-corruption developments from the past month, with links to primary resources. This month we ask: Is the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) still using undercover operations and wiretaps to make FCPA cases? What foreign bribery enforcement actions were brought in Sweden and Switzerland? Will the UK require companies to make stronger anti-corruption disclosures in their annual reports? The answers to these questions and more are here in our August 2017 Top Ten list.
Following Undercover Investigation, DOJ Charges Retired U.S. Army Colonel with Conspiring to Bribe Haitian Officials. On August 29, 2017, DOJ announced that Joseph Baptiste, a dentist and retired U.S. Army colonel, was charged in Massachusetts federal court with one count of conspiring to violate the FCPA and to commit money laundering for his role in an alleged scheme to bribe senior officials in Haiti in connection with an $84 million port development project. Baptiste's arrest followed an investigation, launched in 2014, into Haitian-American businesspeople who were offering to help bribe Haitian officials in order to obtain or retain business in that country. According to the complaint, Baptiste solicited bribes from undercover agents posing as investors and told them, during a recorded meeting at a Boston hotel, that he would funnel the bribes to Haitian officials through a non-profit he controlled in order to secure approval of the port development project. The complaint also alleges that, during telephone calls caught on a wiretap, Baptiste discussed bribing an aide to a senior Haitian official by giving him a job on the port development project after he left his position. The Baptiste case demonstrates that DOJ remains willing and able to use a broad range of law enforcement tactics, including undercover agents and wiretaps, to investigate and prosecute FCPA violations.
Minnesota-based Supplier of Test Systems and Sensing Solutions Discloses DOJ and SEC Declinations. In an August 7, 2017 securities filing, MTS Systems disclosed that DOJ and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had informed the company that they had closed their investigations into potential FCPA violations without further action. According to the filing, in 2012, MTS investigated gift, travel, entertainment, and other expenses incurred in...