Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has broad experience representing clients on matters in which the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), UK Bribery Act (“Bribery Act”) and other antibribery issues that may arise. More than 55 members of the firm have experience with the FCPA and the Bribery Act, including through representing clients in criminal and civil litigation, conducting internal company investigations, counseling in proposed business transactions and developing, implementing and reviewing corporate anticorruption compliance policies and procedures.
The constant evolution of national security and foreign policy priorities, along with changes in social, political and economic conditions, can generate shifting government expectations and regulatory standards and often increases risks for companies with international business interests. Akin Gump has offices in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and we assist companies with transactions around the world. We have represented and advised clients in relation to bribery-related issues in numerous countries, including Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, England, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, São Tomé and Principe, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zaire and Zambia.
In the first reported case involving the FCPA, Akin Gump represented a distributor of luxury private aircraft. Since then, our FCPA and Bribery Act representations have included a wide array of firms and industries. We advise domestic, foreign and multinational corporations in numerous industries, including, among others:
Regardless of our client’s industry, size or location, we are able to apply our extraordinary skill and experience, coupled with an understanding of their business environment and objectives, to advise them on these matters.
We have represented clients in numerous criminal corruption investigations. In many cases, we have worked with enforcement agencies in settling potential FCPA issues before an investigation has begun or an indictment has been issued.
At the core of our practice is a shared commitment to quality, responsiveness and results-oriented representation. These principles are evident in every aspect of our services, whether in the context of an internal review, a compliance audit, a targeted counseling project or a government enforcement action. We identify particular strategies to address directly the relevant issues then execute an approach that frees our clients to focus on their business priorities—within the legal parameters governing those activities.
When companies engage in international business without experienced legal guidance, seemingly routine business transactions may run afoul of the Bribery Act and/or FCPA. Those violations may result in severe civil and criminal penalties that could include custodial sentences, monetary fines and the disgorgement of profits, administrative debarment from doing business with federal and national governments or multi- and bilateral development banks, and denial of export privileges, including licenses and forfeitures. In the current political climate, companies confronted with enforcement actions also face a heightened risk of damage to their corporate reputations and their relations with government officials, their stockholders and the general public.
The lawyers at Akin Gump provide the full range of value-added legal services to our clients:
- Compliance. FCPA actions are primarily enforced by the Department of Justice (DOJ) with a coordinating role played by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), whereas the Bribery Act is primarily enforced by the UK Serious Fraud Office. The Office of the General Counsel of the Department of Commerce (DOC) also provides U.S. exporters with information concerning the FCPA’s basic requirements and constraints. Our lawyers, many of whom came from the DOJ and SEC, have worked on a significant number of these matters and recognize how anticorruption laws can significantly impact business operations on a global basis. At Akin Gump, we develop, customize, implement, audit and evaluate internal control programs and procedures to ensure compliance with the statutes, and we routinely advise clients on how the FCPA and/or Bribery Act apply to their business operations in foreign markets. In addition, we monitor, analyze and report on significant legislative, regulatory and political events related to the Bribery Act and the FCPA in addition to critical judicial decisions, such as U.S. v. Kay and R v. Innospec, that can have a significant impact on the outcomes of matters involving Bribery Act and/or FCPA allegations. Corporate transactions often involve additional compliance issues when they are international in scope; therefore, we assist clients in such transactions, including international joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions and public offerings, by conducting due diligence reviews of internal controls and corporate compliance programs in order to provide them with advice addressing related concerns and preparing risk factor assessments and disclosures.
- Enforcement. By conducting internal compliance audits and investigations, we help companies to navigate the complex provisions of the FCPA and Bribery Act, including the legal and accounting requirements, and encourage our clients to monitor their employees’ conduct in order to avoid running afoul of the statutes. Where appropriate, we also help clients prepare and submit voluntary disclosures of violations and develop appropriate remediation efforts in order to negotiate the most favorable possible resolutions. Moreover, we defend clients in proceedings and litigation, including civil and criminal investigations and enforcement actions (whether initiated by the Serious Fraud Office or the DOJ/SEC) and congressional investigations and hearings. Many of our lawyers have firsthand experience, gained while serving as federal prosecutors, in the investigation and prosecution of FCPA cases. Finally, we advise our clients on the numerous complex securities law and corporate governance issues, including Sarbanes-Oxley, that arise during a DOJ or SEC investigation.
- Public Policy. Clients engaged in international business operations and transactions must be regularly apprised of the legislative initiatives and the public policy debate in Washington, D.C., related to anticorruption laws. We closely monitor and analyze such ongoing matters. Many clients wish to help shape such policy developments. We assist them by drafting options papers, public policy strategies, talking points, white papers and other informational materials, as well as by implementing grassroots initiatives to support strategic objectives. Akin Gump lawyers also assist clients in drafting proposed legislation and lobbying Congress and the executive branch and advise members of Congress and congressional working groups on legislative initiatives to reform U.S. sanctions laws. Finally, we help draft and present congressional testimony focusing on export controls and economic sanctions concerns.