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United States v. Castle - 925 F.2d 831 (5th Cir. 1991)

Rule:

The court finds in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, 15 U.S.C.S. §§ 78dd-1, 78dd-2, an affirmative legislative policy to leave unpunished a well-defined group of persons who were necessary parties to the acts constituting a violation of the substantive law.

Facts:

Defendants Castle and Lowry, together with two other officials, were charged with conspiring to bribe foreign officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA). Defendants Castle and Lowry have moved to dismiss the indictment against them on the grounds that as Canadian officials, they cannot be convicted of the offense charged against them. The District Court dismissed the case, holding that the defendants, as foreign officials, could not be prosecuted for conspiring to commit bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA), 15 U.S.C.S. §§ 78dd-1, 78dd-2, and were excluded from prosecution under the general conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C.S. § 371, for conspiring to violate the FCPA. The government challenged the decision.

Issue:

Could the Government prosecute Castle and Lowry under the general conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371, for conspiring to violate the FCPA?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, holding that based upon the language of the FCPA and the legislative history, there was an affirmative legislative policy to leave unpunished a well-defined group of persons who were necessary parties to the acts constituting a violation of the substantive law. The Court held that plaintiff government presented no reason why the prosecution of defendants should have gone forward in the face of the congressional intent not to prosecute foreign officials. The Court further declined to extend the reach of the FCPA through the application of the conspiracy statute and dismissed the indictment against defendants.

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