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.

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.

Justice Department Faces Setback as Two Businessmen Acquitted in Bribery Scheme

Two American businessmen accused of planning to bribe the defense minister of Gabon were acquitted of criminal charges on January 30, 2012.  The two men were charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which prohibits bribing foreign officials.  The jury has acquitted two of the accused, but will continue deliberating on three remaining defendants.  The verdict is a setback for the Justice Department, which has been pursuing several high profile FCPA cases of late in an effort to crack down on bribery and corruption abroad.

Issue 3, Volume 28, March 2012 Issue

The March 2012 issue of the International Enforcement Law Reporter is now available.  Articles in this isssue that might be especially interesting to our readers include "IRS Reopens Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program," on page 80, and "Mexico Extradites Man Charged With Murder of ICE Special Agent," on page 92.  If you are currently a subscriber to the IELR and wish to receieve a PDF version, please send us an email.  If you would like to subscribe to the IELR, please visit our Subscription page.

ICC Charges Four Kenyan Officials with Crimes Related to 2007 Election Violence

On January 23, 2012, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued two decisions regarding the indictments brought against six Kenyan officials in response to the post-election violence that broke out following the 2007 presidential election.  In the decisions, the ICC found that it had "substantial grounds to believe" that four of the six had committed crimes against humanity and other serious offenses, and that they would be tried before the ICC at a later date.  The four are also accused of orchestrating attacks against civilian supporters of opposition political parties in Kenya in 2007 and early 2008.  All four men are prominent figures in Kenya, and three hold or have held important government positions. The ICC ruling may have long-lasting repercussions in the African nation, and will likely affect the Kenyan presidential race depending on the outcome of the appeal and trial.

Decision 1

Decision 2

Japanese Company to Pay $54.6 Million After FCPA Probe

In a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Marubeni Corp., a Japanses trading company, will pay the U.S. government $54.6 million dollars for bribing Nigerian officials to receive natural gas contracts on Bonny Island, Nigeria.  Between 1995 and 2004, Marubeni was awarded $6 billion dollars in contracts, which it obtained through bribery.  The Justice Department recently filed a deferred-prosecution agreement charging Marubeni with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits bribery of foreign officials.  

OECD Reprimands Japan, Italy, and Switzerland for Poor Enforcement of Anti-Bribery Laws

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has issued reports on the corruption enforcement efforts in Japan, Italy, and Switzerland.  The OECD critizied Japan for poor implementation of its anti-bribery laws, and for only prosecuting two cases since their inception.  Italy was criticized for only sanctioning 3 companies and 9 individuals, and Switzerland was rebuked for only successfully prosecuting one individual, despite the strong possibility of corruption in its financial sector. The OECD urged reforms and that the signatory countries take more action to combat corruption and bribery.

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