On September 8, a California-based software company disclosed in its annual statement that following an investigation into its operations in Russia and certain of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the DOJ and SEC have both declined to bring enforcement actions under the FCPA. An announcement of possible violations was first disclosed in the December 2013 blog post by Roxane Marenberg, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel in the company’s Global Compliance Enablement division. In the post, Marenberg stated that the company was conducting an investigation into alleged FCPA violations at the request of the SEC and DOJ in response to a communication those agencies had received concerning the company’s operations and discounting practices. The company’s disclosures did not provide any further detail about the nature of the business activities being investigated.
In conjunction with the SEC’s recent settlement with a U.K.-based pharmaceutical company, the company announced on August 30 that the DOJ has closed its parallel foreign bribery investigation. As detailed here, the SEC settled charges against the company for allegedly improper payments made by its wholly owned subsidiaries in China and Russia. Under the SEC settlement, the company agreed to disgorge $4.325 million and pay a $375,000 civil penalty with $822,000 in prejudgment interest.
On August 30, the SEC announced a $5.5 million settlement with a U.K.-based pharmaceutical company to settle charges under the FCPA’s books and records and internal control provisions due to allegedly improper payments made by the company’s wholly-owned subsidiaries in China and Russia. In its administrative order, the SEC alleged that the Chinese subsidiaries made improper payments to doctors at state-owned healthcare providers to incentivize purchasing and prescribing the company’s pharmaceuticals. The improper payments were funded by fraudulent tax receipts, inflated travel invoices, and fabricated speaker fees. The Chinese subsidiary also allegedly made improper payments to government officials in exchange for reductions or dismissals of proposed financial sanctions against the subsidiary. Similarly, the SEC alleged that the company’s Russian subsidiary made improper payments in connection with pharmaceutical sales. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, the company agreed to disgorge $4.325 million and pay a $375,000 civil penalty with $822,000 in prejudgment interest.
The SEC’s administrative order indicates that the company waived its statute of limitations defenses. This is notable because the company’s misconduct allegedly ended in 2010, and the statute of limitations for FCPA offenses is five years.
This settlement represents another in a series of SEC investigations of the pharmaceutical industry.
In an SEC cease and desist order filed on August 11, Key Energy Services, Inc., a Houston-based provider of rig-based oil well services, agreed to disgorge $5 million to settle charges that the company violated the books and records and internal control provisions of the FCPA. According to the order, from August 2010 through at least April 2013, Key Energy’s Mexican subsidiary paid bribes of at least $229,000 to a contract employee at Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the Mexican state-owned oil and gas company. In exchange, the subsidiary received Pemex non-public information, advice and assistance on contracts with Pemex, and lucrative amplifications or amendments to those contracts. The funds were allegedly funneled through an entity purporting to provide consulting services, but for which there was no evidence of appropriate authorization of the relationship, and no supporting documentation regarding the purported consulting work performed. According to the SEC, the subsidiary improperly recorded the transfers to the consulting firm as legitimate business expenses, which were consolidated into Key Energy’s books and records. Key Energy allegedly failed to implement and maintain sufficient internal controls, including within the subsidiary relating to interactions with Pemex officials, and failed to respond to indications that the subsidiary was improperly using consultants. Read more…
On August 8, a medical device manufacturer announced in an SEC filing that it is “probable” that the company will incur additional liabilities in connection with the company’s 2012 deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) related to FCPA violations in Mexico and Brazil. The company stated that it had set aside funds for this purpose, but did not specify the amount. The company’s SEC filing stated that the company “expects to continue discussions with the SEC and DOJ but the terms of a potential resolution were not certain.” Two months ago, DOJ stated in a court filing that the company had breached the DPA by failing to implement and maintain a compliance program.