In a recent speech Mythili Raman, acting assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's criminal division, discussed the growing trend among federal agencies to cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") violations. As explained by Corporate Counsel, Raman emphasized how that spirit of cooperation has led to greater U.S. interagency cooperation and to greater cooperation across borders as well. See also SEC Actions.
Last month's Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and Justice Department FCPA case against France-based Total S.A. ("Total") exemplifies that cooperative trend. The regulators allege that Total paid $60 million in bribes to intermediaries of an Iranian government official to help the company obtain oil and gas field development contracts. The SEC's order requires Total to pay disgorgement of $153 million and retain an independent compliance consultant to review and report on Total's compliance with the FCPA. In the parallel criminal proceedings, Total agreed to pay a $245.2 million penalty as part of a deferred prosecution agreement. Charges also were recommended by the prosecutor of Paris for violations of French laws. In the Matter of Total S.A., SEC Release No. 34-69654. See also CNN (summarizing French allegations). Despite this evidence of greater cross-border cooperation, Main Justice noted that global anti-bribery efforts continue to be dominated by the U.S., citing statistics from a just-released Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development study.