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Stanley Sporkin - The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act - Then and Now (2004)

Stanley Sporkin - The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act - Then and Now (2004)

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Published by Mike Koehler

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Mike Koehler on Sep 26, 2011
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02/11/2014

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THEFOREIGNCORRUPTPRACTICESACT-THENANDNOW:
By
STANLEYSPORKIN1
12THNATIONALFOREIGNCORRUPTPRACTICESACTCONFERENCENOVEMBER15~16,
2004
WASHINGTON
DC
HOWITALLBEGANInmy47yearsasagovernmentandprivatesectorattorney,thereisnoaccomplishmentofwhichIammoreproudthanthecontributionImadebyassistinginthecreationoftheFCPA.TheFCPAwasnottheresultofsomebureaucratwho,withoutprovocation,thoughtthatthiswasalawthatshouldbeonthebooks.Instead,itcameaboutasareactiontocertainhighlyquestionableactivitiesofmanyofourinternationalcorporationsthatbecamepublicasaresultofinvestigationsconductedbytheSEC.
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StanleySporkinisaretiredFederalDistrictCourtJudge,formerGeneralCounseloftheCIA,andformerDirectoroftheSEC'sDivisionofEnforcement.HepresentlyisapartnerwiththelawfirmofWeil,Gotshal
&
MangesLLP.
 
ItallbeganatatimewhenIwasDirectoroftheSEC'sDivisionofEnforcement.ThiswasatimewhentheWatergatehearingsweregreattelevisionfare.Ifollowedthehearingsveryclosely.Thecorporateofficialsofferednogreatrevelationscomparedtothosepresentedinthetestimonyof"AllthePresident'sMen,"butatthetailendofthehearings,anumberofthesecorporateofficialstestifiedaboutimpermissiblecontributionsmadebytheircorporationstoPresidentNixon'sre-electioncampaign.Ifoundthistestimonyfascinating.Interestingly,thecommitteemadenosearchinginquiryintothemethodologyusedbythecorporationstomakethepayments.BecauseofmyCPAbackground,thetestimonyimmediatelypromptedseveralaccountingquestions:Howdidapubliclytradedcorporationrecordsuchanillegaltransaction?Whatifanyinformationdidtheoutsideauditorshave?Iaskedoneofmystaffmemberstocommenceaninformalinquirytodeterminehowthesetransactionswerebookedandtheanswercamebackquickly-thepoliticalcontributionswere
2
 
disguisedonthecontributingcorporations'booksandrecords.Carefulplanningbytopcorporateofficialsassuredthatillegalpoliticalcontributionswerenotdisclosedonthecompanies'booksandrecords.Buttheinquiryrevealedsomethingmore.Wediscoveredthattheuseofcompanyfundswasnotconfinedtoillegalpoliticalcontributions.Indeed,secretfundswereusedtomakemanyotherformsofillicitpayments,includingpaymentsofbribestohighofficialsofforeigngovernments.Atthispointtheinquirywasexpandedintoafullfledgedinvestigation.Theresultsoftheinvestigationwerestaggering.AsreportedbytheDepartmentofJustice,"over400U.S.companiesadmittedmakingquestionableorillegalpaymentsinexcessof$300milliontoforeigngovernmentofficials,politiciansandpoliticalparties."Thisincluded117ofthetopFortune500corporations.ThecaseloadattheSECmountedandactionswereinitiatedagainstsomeofthenation'smostprestigiouscorporations.Acreativesolutionbecameessential.Congresscametothe
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