On March 30, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) announced the establishment ofthree international corruption squads dedicated to investigating incidents of foreign bribery and kleptocracy-related criminal activity. The squads, based in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., will work closely with the DOJ’s Fraud Section and the SEC in investigating violations of the FCPA. Special Agent George McEachern, who heads the International Corruption Unit at FBI Headquarters, stated that the squads were created to address the national and international implications of corruption.
The establishment of these new dedicated corruption squads has been spurred, at least in part, by the rise in cooperation among regulatory and law enforcement authorities across the globe to investigate and prosecute foreign corruption. Indeed, the FBI press release noted the Bureau’s partnerships with overseas law enforcement agencies as well as its participation in international working groups such as the Foreign Bribery Task Force.
The increased FBI attention is also notable in the context of the rising use of so-called “traditional” white-collar investigative techniques such as wiretaps and confidential informants in FCPA cases, including in the current PetroTiger prosecution and the DOJ’s failedAfrica Sting case.