There has been a lot of speculation this past year about whether the DOJ and SEC would continue their robust enforcement of the FCPA under the Trump administration given his previous public comments. In the past, Trump has said that “this country is absolutely crazy” to prosecute alleged FCPA violations because, according to Trump, the anti-bribery law puts U.S. business at a “huge disadvantage.” Trump further commented that the FCPA is a “horrible law and it should be changed.”
If the attached settlement agreement is any indication, it looks like the FCPA will thankfully remain an enforcement priority. The SEC recently announced a $29.2 million settlement with Halliburton for alleged FCPA violations related to oilfield service contracts in Angola. Halliburton agreed to pay $14 million in disgorgement plus $1.2 million in prejudgment interest and a $14 million penalty. There is no indication that the information to prosecute this case originated from the SEC Whistleblower program. If it did originate from an anonymous whistleblower, their share of the bounty would be a minimum of roughly $2.9 million and possibly more than double that.
The FCPA prohibits American companies or even foreign companies whose stock is traded on U.S. stock exchanges from paying money or other sorts of bribes to a foreign official in order to influence a decision of action affecting that company’s business. The penalties in this area can be tremendous as can the whistleblower’s share of the bounty. If you have any information that you believe could lead to a successful prosecution, we’d love to help evaluate it.