Cooperation has reached new heights between the U.S. Department of Justice and U.K. authorities.
The DOJ Dec. 9 announced a new attorney position in its Fraud Section in which the attorney will work two years in London. The attorney will spend the first year with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, and the second year with the U.K. Serious Fraud Office.
After that, the attorney will return to Washington, D.C., to probe and prosecute cross-border economic crimes in the U.S. and to train other Fraud Section prosecutors on “the best practices and experiences learned” in London.
Further job details are available here. Applicants have until Dec. 22 to submit their resumes.
In the meantime, the FCA and the SFO are interested in sending an attorney from their respective agencies to work in the DOJ’s Fraud Section.
Over the last year, DOJ officials frequently have stressed that crime now occurs on a global scale. The areas in which the U.S. and U.K. authorities collaborate most closely include foreign bribery and corruption, and manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate.
What does this mean for multinational corporations? As U.S. and foreign regulators collaborate more closely, companies face a higher chance of being simultaneously prosecuted in different jurisdictions under different laws for the same offenses.
Take the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the 2010 U.K. Bribery Act, for example. Among other differences, the FCPA applies only to foreign bribery, while the U.K. statute covers bribes to “any” person. The U.K. law, unlike the FCPA, also makes it a strict liability offense for a “commercial organisation”—which includes companies doing business in the U.K.—to prevent bribery. However, companies can defend against the violation by showing they had adequate procedures in place that were designed to prevent the misconduct.
In line with simultaneous prosecutions, companies also must prepare for sanctions by different jurisdictions over the same wrongdoing.
On that matter, U.S. authorities have said they will, where possible, take into account penalties paid to different jurisdictions. In a recent example, Embraer SA agreed in October to pay $205 million to settle a long-running investigation by U.S. and Brazil authorities into bribery allegations involving an airline deal with the Dominican Republic. Of the $205 million, $107 million went to the DOJ, while $98 million went to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC deducted from its bill the $20 million that the company agreed to pay to the Brazilian authorities.
In this new era of global crime, voluntary self-reporting also has become an even more difficult calculus. Companies must take into account the possible fallout not only in the U.S. but also in other jurisdictions before coming forward.
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