Top 10 International Anti-Corruption Developments for March 2022
Top 10 International Anti-Corruption Developments for March 2022
Designed for busy in-house counsel, compliance professionals, and anti-corruption lawyers, this newsletter summarizes some of the most important international anti-corruption developments from the past month, with links to primary resources. This month we ask: Which company entered into a “declination with disgorgement” with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)? Why was the Working Group on Bribery from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) concerned about Greece’s foreign bribery enforcement record? Which companies were debarred by multilateral development banks? The answers to these questions and more are here in our March 2022 Top 10 list.
In a March 18, 2022, letter, DOJ notified Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group Holdings Limited that it would decline to prosecute the company over FCPA violations stemming from bribes allegedly paid by an employee and agents of the company, through a third party, to Ecuadorian officials to secure contracts with Ecuadorian state-owned surety company Seguros Sucre. According to the letter, between 2014 and 2016, the company paid approximately $10.8 million to a Florida-based intermediary, knowing that about a third of that amount would be used to pay to Ecuadorian officials. In reaching this resolution, DOJ applied the factors set out in the Justice Manual’s Corporate Enforcement Policy and Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations, including the company’s agreement to disgorge approximately $29 million in allegedly ill-gotten gains to the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) within one year of the execution of the declination with disgorgement. This is the second time since the Corporate Enforcement Policy went into force in November 2017 that DOJ has entered into a declination with disgorgement in response to an SFO investigation (see our August 2018 Top 10 for more on the first). DOJ has also pursued individual prosecutions related to alleged bribery involving Seguros Sucre (see our March 2021 and April 2021 Top 10s for more, as well as #2 below).
On March 29, 2022, DOJ announced that Carlos Ramon Polit Faggioni (Polit), the former Comptroller General of Ecuador, had been indicted in the Southern District of Florida on money laundering charges related to his alleged solicitation and receipt of over $10 million in bribes from a Brazil-based construction company, as well as a bribe from an Ecuadorian business executive. According to the indictment, Polit used his official position and influence to prevent the imposition of large fines related to the construction company’s projects in Ecuador and directed the owner of several Florida-based companies to make the bribes he received for this assistance “disappear” by investing in South Florida real estate and businesses. The indictment alleges that Polit also used his official position and influence to help a company owned by the Ecuadorian business executive obtain contracts from Seguros Sucre and used the bribery proceeds to invest in additional South Florida real estate projects.
On March 8, 2022, DOJ announced that two former Venezuelan prosecutors, Daniel D’Andrea Golinda (D’Andrea) and Luis Javier Sanchez Rangel (Sanchez), had been indicted in the Southern District of Florida on money laundering charges for allegedly receiving over $1 million in bribes in exchange for not pursuing criminal charges against a contractor who had received over $150 million in contracts from subsidiaries of Venezuela’s national oil company, Petréleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA). According to the indictment, the $1 million was paid to an account held in South Florida by a company owned by a Venezuelan attorney, some of which was used to purchase a car and real estate in South Florida.
On March 31, 2022, DOJ announced the arrest of former Corsa Coal Corporation Vice President Charles Hobson for his alleged role in a scheme to bribe Egyptian officials to secure $143 million in coal contracts with Egyptian state-owned company Al Nasr Company for Coke and Chemicals. In addition to the approximately $4.8 million Hobson and other company executives allegedly paid in bribes between 2016 and 2020, the indictment also alleges that Hobson conspired to receive kickbacks as part of the bribery and money laundering scheme. Hobson faces seven counts, including one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and two counts of violating the FCPA. In November 2021, DOJ announced that another former company executive, Fred Cushmore, had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA for his involvement in the same alleged bribery scheme. Similar to the charging document against Cushmore, the indictment against Hobson emphasizes the conspirators’ use of encrypted messaging services in furtherance of the alleged scheme.
On March 23, 2022, Robin Longoria was sentenced in the Northern District of Ohio to one year and a day’s imprisonment and ordered to pay approximately $79,000 in restitution following her August 2019 guilty plea to conspiring to violate the FCPA, to commit wire fraud, and to commit visa fraud. Longoria’s alleged co-conspirators, Debra Parris and Margaret Cole, pleaded guilty in November 2021 and February 2022, respectively, while the charges against another alleged co-conspirator, Dorah Mirembe, are unresolved.
On March 11, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted DOJ’s motion to dismiss the information against Panasonic Avionics Corporation. According to the DOJ motion, the company “fully complied with all of its obligations under the DPA,” which was announced in April 2018.
On March 22, 2022, the OECD Working Group on Bribery announced the results of its Phase 4 evaluation of Greece’s implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. All parties to the Convention are subject to a rigorous peer review process, Phase 4 of which focuses on the evaluated country’s enforcement of the Convention and considers the country’s particular challenges and positive achievements. According to the Working Group, “Detection and enforcement of the foreign bribery offence require urgent improvement in Greece. Despite the Convention entering into force over 24 years ago, Greece has no convictions for foreign bribery. In addition, wholesale reform is required to the legislation concerning the liability of legal persons[.]” Despite these shortcomings, the Working Group highlighted several positive developments in Greece, including the establishment of the National Transparency Authority and the National Coordinating Body for Audit and Accountability.
On March 30, 2022, the World Bank Group announced the 50-month debarment of SoftTech IT Solutions and Services Limited, an information technology solutions company based in Nigeria, and the 60-month debarment of its managing director, Isah Salihu Kantigi. According to the announcement, Kantigi, as an individual consultant, made improper payments to officials of the National Social Safety Nets Project, a World Bank-funded project in Nigeria designed to provide access to targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households under an expanded national social safety net system. Kantigi allegedly made “appreciation” payments to project officials as a reward for his receiving a Bank-funded consultancy services contract, and then helped other individual consultants do the same. SoftTech allegedly acted as the conduit for these payments. The World Bank debarments of SoftTech and Katingi could result in cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks under the April 9, 2010, Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions.
On March 18, 2022, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced that Construtora COESA S.A. and 26 subsidiaries were barred from participation in IDB-funded road construction projects for 36 months. According to the IDB, Construtora COESA made over $1.7 million in illicit payments to public officials involved in managing two contracts in São Paulo, Brazil. In 2019, the company controlling Construtora’s predecessor reached a $460 million settlement with the Brazilian authorities on this and other matters, which, along with Constutora’s early cooperation with IDB, resulted in a reduced sanction for the conduct. The IDB debarment could result in cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks under the April 9, 2010, Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions.
 Judgment as to Robin Longoria, United States v. Longoria, Case No. 1:19-cr-00482-JG, ECF No. 37 (Mar. 23, 2022).
 Government’s Mot. to Dismiss, United States v. Panasonic Avionics Corp., Case No. 1:18-cr-118-RBW, ECF No. 8 (Mar. 8, 2022).