The International Enforcement Law Reporter

The International Enforcement Law Reporter is a monthly print and online journal covering news and trends in international enforcement law.

Since September 1985, the International Enforcement Law Reporter has analyzed the premier developments in both the substantive and procedural aspects of international enforcement law. Read by practitioners, academics, and politicians, the IELR is a valuable guide to the difficult and dynamic field of international law.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Requests FCPA Clarification

The Chamber of Commerce has sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ), asking for clarification on what constitutes a bribe under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  The DOJ has been concluding a string of high-profile FCPA prosecutions, but the aggressive actions by the government have raised questions about how it enforces the law, according to the Chamber of Commerce.  The head of the DOJ's Criminal Division has promised that clarification would be forthcoming, while the Chamber of Commerce also continues its legistlative campaign to amend the law. 

Chamber of Commerce Guidance Letter.

FATF Issues Revised Recommendations

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has issued revised recommendations on the International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism & Proliferation.  According to FATF, the main changes to the recommendations include: 

  • Combating the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction through the consistent implementation of targeted financial sanctions when these are called for by the UN Security Council. 
  • Improved transparency to make it harder for criminals and terrorists to conceal their identities or hide their assets behind legal persons and arrangements. 
  • Stronger requirements when dealing with politically exposed persons (PEPs).
  • Expanding the scope of money laundering predicate offences by including tax crimes.
  • An enhanced risk-based approach which enables countries and the private sector to apply their resources more efficiently by focusing on higherrisk areas.
  • More effective international cooperation including exchange of information between relevant authorities, conduct of joint investigations, and tracing, freezing and confiscation of illegal assets. 
  • Better operational tools and a wider range of techniques and powers, both for the financial intelligence units, and for law enforcement to investigate and prosecute money laundering and terrorist financing.
For more information, see the FATF press release.

Britain Releases Terrorism Suspect after ECHR Ruling

Britain has released Abu Qatada, an Islamic preacher with connections to the 9/11 attacks and Osama bin Laden, following a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights blocking his deportation to Jordan.  Britain had detained Abu Qatada for six years without charging him for six years, and had hoped to have him face trial in Jordan.  The ECHR found that some of the evidence against Abu Qatada might have been discovered through torture, which would have prevented a fair trial.  The issue poses a dilemma for British lawmakers and security forces, who have attempted to handle terrorist suspects through civilian courts, not always successfully.

Senators Introduce Tax Loophole Bill

Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich) has introduced a bill into the U.S. Senate to close several loopholes in the U.S. tax code.  The bill, titled the "Cut Unjustified Tax Loopholes Act," intends to close loopholes that allow for U.S. taxpayers to avoid paying taxes through the use of offshore tax havens and other mechanisms.  Corporations are also targeted, and would no longer be able to claim foreign status if they are operated from in the United States.  The intention of the legislation is to raise revenue for the federal government and make it more difficult for corporations to pay lower tax rates by moving operations abroad.

The bill is modeled on Senator Levin's previous effort against so-called tax loopholes, the "Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act."

For the complete text of the bill, click here.

Smith & Nephew Inc. Fined for FCPA Violation

The medical device company Smith & Nephew Inc. has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice.  The company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) when it bribed officials in Greece from 1998 to 2008 in order to secure business contracts in that country.  As part of the agreement, Smith & Nephew will pay a $16.8 million fine and institute internal changes to its business practice.  Smith & Nephew has also agreed to pay $5.4 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Wegelin Bank Indicted for Assisting with Tax Evasion

The U.S. Justice Department has indicted the Swiss bank Wegelin this week for conspiring with U.S. taxpayers to hide over USD $1.2 billion in assets from the U.S. government.  Wegelin did not have any offices in the United States, but did access the U.S. banking system through  a correspondant account with UBS.  Three bankers, Michael Berlinka, Urs Frei and Roger Keller, were named in the indictment.

Japanese Companies to Pay Fine in Price-Fixing Case

Two Japanese corporations have pleaded guilty to price-fixing and bid-rigging, and have agreed to pay fines of USD $548 million, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. This was one of the largest antitrust investigations ever, in terms of scope, as the two companies had been participating in the scheme for at least a decade.  Automakers and consumers both overpaid for electronic parts as a result.  During the investigation, law enforcement agencies from the United States, Japan, and Europe all became involved.  The companies were ultimately sanctioned by the U.S.

Swiss Govt Transfers Encrypted Sensitive Client Information to US Government

On January 30, 2012, the media reported that on the deadline given to Swiss banks to turn over sensitive client information, Swiss banks had transmitted such information to the Swiss government, which in turn transmitted it in encrypted form to the U.S. government.  However, the Swiss government has said that it will only decode the information once the Swiss and U.S. government haver achieved a resolution.  The Swiss government wants, among other things, the U.S. government to drop investigations against the eleven Swiss banks.


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