Haynes and Boone, LLP Partner Emily Westridge Black talked with Bloomberg Law about a few cases and trends white-collar attorneys plan to keep an eye on this year.
Here is an excerpt:
The government’s efforts in 2019 to pursue violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) ended strong with a $1.6 billion penalty against Ericsson AB in December and a high-profile trial victory against a former Alstom S.A. executive just a month earlier.
Bloomberg has reported that another corporate penalty north of $1 billion is in the works as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. negotiates a settlement over its role in the 1MDB bribery scandal.
Corporate defense attorneys who spoke to Bloomberg Law said they’re expecting similar, if not more, activity in the FCPA realm next year, as well as an amplified focus on individuals.
“I think it’s a really interesting time in the FCPA space,” said Emily Westridge Black, partner at Haynes and Boone, LLP. “Overall, under the current administration, enforcement is down, but in the anti-corruption area it’s actually up.”
Companies tend to settle foreign bribery changes to avoid reputational damage and other consequences, she added. But the calculus is different for individuals, who are typically much more willing to fight the charges.
“For the first time since the law was passed, we are really starting to see a critical mass of cases moving through the court system, as well as the development of case law on points that people have been debating for a long time,” Black said.
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