James M. Koukios

James M. Koukios


University of Michigan (B.A., 1996)
Harvard Law School (J.D., 1999)

Bar Admissions

New York
District of Columbia


Hon. Edith Brown Clement, U.S. District Court, E.D. Louisiana (1999-2001)

James Koukios is a partner in the Securities Litigation, Enforcement & White-Collar Defense Practice Group. An experienced trial attorney and former federal prosecutor, Mr. Koukios has tried over 20 federal jury cases, including serving as the lead prosecutor in two landmark FCPA-related trials, United States v. Esquenazi and United States v. Duperval. His practice focuses on white-collar criminal and related matters, including compliance counseling, transactional due diligence, internal corporate investigations, and government enforcement actions.

Selected Significant Representations

  • Providing FCPA legal advice, anti-corruption counseling, and transactional due diligence to multinational corporations in several industries, including health care, defense, entertainment technology, and financial services
  • Assisting multinational corporations in several industries in presenting results of FCPA internal investigations to enforcement authorities
  • Assisting multinational companies in several industries in internal investigations of potential violations of the FCPA and other federal criminal laws
  • Representing an individual in a multinational anti-corruption investigation
  • Defending independent directors against breach of fiduciary duty claims in federal court

Prior to joining Morrison & Foerster, Mr. Koukios served as the Senior Deputy Chief of the Fraud Section in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In that role, he supervised investigations, prosecutions and resolutions in the Fraud Section’s FCPA, Health Care Fraud and Securities and Financial Fraud Units.

Mr. Koukios was an Assistant Chief in the Fraud Section’s FCPA Unit from 2012 to 2014, directly supervising some of the Unit’s most high-profile matters. He assisted with drafting the DOJ and SEC joint publication, A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which followed a series of consultations with business and compliance leaders. He was also a lead examiner for the Phase 2 examination of Russia’s compliance with the Anti-Bribery Convention of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

As a line prosecutor in the Fraud Section from 2009 to 2012, Mr. Koukios investigated and prosecuted numerous individuals and corporations for violations of the FCPA and other white-collar crimes. Mr. Koukios was the lead trial lawyer for the United States in the seminal Esquenazi FCPA trial and the Duperval money laundering trial. The Esquenazi trial resulted in the first appellate decision on whether and when a state-owned enterprise qualifies as an “instrumentality” under the FCPA. The Duperval trial resulted in the first jury conviction of a foreign official on money laundering offenses related to the FCPA and was also affirmed on appeal. For his work on these matters, he received the Assistant Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award. While at the Fraud Section, he also gained significant experience in investigating and prosecuting individuals and corporations for health care fraud and other white-collar crimes.

From 2010 to 2011, Mr. Koukios served as Special Counsel to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III, advising the Director and other FBI executives on criminal policy issues, preparing FBI Executive Management for congressional testimony, representing the FBI at interagency meetings, and acting as a liaison between FBI and other DOJ components.

From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Koukios was an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in the Southern District of Florida. As an AUSA, he represented the United States in hundreds of proceedings, served as trial attorney in 19 federal felony jury trials, and prosecuted fraud, public corruption, export control, money laundering, narcotics, violent crime, and immigration offenses. Among several notable cases, Mr. Koukios was a lead prosecutor in United States v. AEY, Inc., et al., a defense procurement fraud case featured on the front page of The New York Times. Throughout his decade-long service as a federal prosecutor, Mr. Koukios worked closely with state, federal, and foreign law enforcement officials, as well as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. Departments of Defense, State and Commerce, and intelligence agencies.

Following law school, Mr. Koukios clerked for Judge Edith Brown Clement in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He then worked as a litigation associate in the D.C. office of an international law firm, where he litigated white-collar criminal, securities fraud, intellectual property, antitrust, First Amendment, and commercial cases.

In 1999, Mr. Koukios graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he served as supervising editor for the Harvard Journal on Legislation, and earned his B.A. with highest distinction in 1996 from the University of Michigan, where he received the William Jennings Bryan award, given annually to the top political science graduate. Mr. Koukios has been recognized by the Ethisphere Institute among the “Attorneys Who Matter” and frequently speaks on anti-corruption and compliance issues. He is an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at Georgetown University Law Center.

James Koukios was recently named a "recognized practitioner" in FCPA (Nationwide) by Chambers USA and an “expert” by Who’s Who Legal for his investigations work. He was also honored with JDSupra’s “Reader’s Choice Top Author 2017” award for his work on the firm's “Top Ten International Anti-Corruption Developments” monthly newsletter. Mr. Koukios has also been recognized among the “Attorneys Who Matter” by Ethisphere Institute and was featured as one of the “Lateral All-Stars: The Splashiest Hires of 2015” by The American Lawyer when he joined Morrison & Foerster from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Fraud Section.

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