James M. Koukios

Partner | Washington, D.C.

jkoukios@mofo.com | (202) 887-1590 jkoukios@mofo.com
(202) 887-1590
He comes in with a prosecutor's perspective and can point things out that regulators will focus on. He is great. – Chambers & Partners USA

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James Koukios is co-chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Securities Litigation, Enforcement, and White Collar Defense Group and serves as co-head of the FCPA + Global Anti-Corruption Practice.  James represents companies and individuals in high-stakes government enforcement actions and complex internal investigations.  James draws on his experience as a federal prosecutor, when he tried over 20 federal jury cases and supervised hundreds of white collar investigations, to obtain the best results for his clients. 

Before joining Morrison & Foerster, James spent 10 years at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), beginning as an Assistant United States Attorney in Miami and finishing as Senior Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section in Washington, D.C., where he supervised investigations, prosecutions, and resolutions in the Fraud Section’s FCPA, Health Care Fraud, and Market Integrity and Major Fraud Units. While at DOJ, James investigated and prosecuted health care fraud, procurement fraud, domestic and foreign corruption, money laundering, and export control offenses, working closely with state, federal, and foreign law enforcement officials, as well as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. Departments of Defense, State, and Commerce, and intelligence agencies.

While at DOJ, James assisted in drafting the widely acclaimed 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).

From 2010 to 2011, James served as Special Counsel to then-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.

James has been recognized as a leading lawyer in FCPA (Nationwide and Global) by Chambers USA and Chambers Global, “recommended” for corporate investigations and white collar defense by Legal 500, an “Expert” and a “Thought Leader” in investigations by Who’s Who Legal, and an “Attorney Who Matters” by the Ethisphere Institute for making an impact in the area of ethics and compliance. He also received the Assistant Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition for his work on two landmark FCPA-related trials: United States v. Esquenazi and United States v. Duperval. James also served as a lead prosecutor in United States v. AEY Inc., a defense procurement fraud and export licensing case that served as the basis for the 2016 film War Dogs.

James is a recognized thought leader on the latest legal trends and industry developments. He is the lead editor of our award-winning monthly newsletter, Top 10 International Anti-Corruption Developments, which succinctly summarizes important case and policy developments for busy in-house counsel, compliance professionals, and anti-corruption lawyers. James hosts the firm’s MoForecast podcast series, which examines policy changes and enforcement trends under the Biden Administration in a broad range of subject matters. James is also an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at the Georgetown University Law Center and regularly guest lectures at leading law and business schools on investigations, white collar enforcement, and anti-corruption issues.

Selected Significant Representations

FCPA and Global Anti-Corruption
  • The successful resolution of a transnational bribery investigation of a multinational pharmaceutical company, securing cooperation credit, avoiding the imposition of a corporate compliance monitor, and negotiating a deferred prosecution agreement with DOJ and an administrative resolution with the SEC.
  • The successful representation of a multinational medical device company in conducting an internal investigation into allegations of bribery in Vietnam that led to a deferred prosecution agreement with DOJ.
  • The representation of an international consulting firm in an extensive, government-facing international corruption and money laundering investigation.
  • The representation of a multinational automotive company in an internal investigation into allegations of bribery in its Latin America operations and antitrust violations and whistleblower retaliation in its U.S. operations.
  • Represented business executives in anti-corruption, anti-money-laundering, criminal securities fraud, whistleblower retaliation, government procurement fraud, and other DOJ investigations.
  • Provided FCPA legal advice, anti-corruption counseling, transactional due diligence, and post-acquisition integration advice to multinational corporations in several industries, including defense, extractive, financial services, food, gaming, health care, and technology.
  • A review of a multinational company’s compliance management system in connection with the spin-off of a subsidiary and investigations by multiple enforcement agencies.
Other White Collar and Civil Fraud Defense Matters
  • The successful representation of a multinational consumer electronics company in the first-ever corporate criminal resolution of an alleged Consumer Product Safety Act (“CPSA”) violation, securing cooperation credit, avoiding the imposition of a corporate compliance monitor, and negotiating a deferred prosecution agreement for the parent company with DOJ.
  • The successful representation of a defense contractor in conducting an internal investigation that led to a declination from the State Department for potential International Trafficking in Arms Regulation (“ITAR”) violations without referral to DOJ.
  • The representation of a consumer retail company in a DOJ insider trading investigation.
  • The Supervisory Board of a car manufacturer in an ongoing investigation by DOJ, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board, SEC, various state Attorneys General, German Prosecutors and the German vehicle admissions agency into potential violations of environmental, capital markets, consumer protection, antitrust and criminal laws.
  • Represented a company and several of its employees in connection with the Special Counsel’s investigation.
  • Defended independent directors against breach-of-fiduciary-duty claims in federal bankruptcy court, successfully moving to dismiss all claims against the directors with prejudice.
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