By Jennifer Morrissey Esq. and
Orlando Vidal Esq.
It is no secret that energy companies frequently find
themselves in the crosshairs of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigations.
Energy companies' activities abroad often take place in countries considered to
be high corruption risks. Energy companies operating abroad typically are
dependent on government agencies for myriad aspects of their business
operations, such as financing, siting, permitting, tax subsidies, employment
and safety requirements, project construction, and contracts. Foreign agents
and consultants are often hired to assist with local transactions. And although
many companies do have compliance policies on the books, these are not always
enforced, or even known, among employees in all foreign subsidiaries, not to
mention among all agents, joint-venture partners, or other figures who may be
considered or whose conduct may be imputed to a U.S. "domestic concern."
Under the Obama administration, federal investigators have pledged increased
vigor in FCPA enforcement efforts. The
Department of Justice (DOJ) has added FCPA staff and has the assistance of a
dedicated FBI division. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last year
formed a special FCPA investigative unit comprised of a large team of attorneys
with extensive experience in the anti-bribery law and promised to focus on
high-risk industries, including the energy sector.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S):
Jennifer Morrissey is a Senior Managing Associate with SNR Denton US LLP
and a member of the firm's Energy, Transport and Infrastructure group. Ms.
Morrissey's practice focuses on regulation, litigation and compliance primarily
in the energy and infrastructure sectors, both in the U.S. and abroad.
Orlando Vidal, a Partner at SNR Denton, is an international litigator
and a former federal prosecutor who has spoken frequently to audiences around
the world about global anti-corruption efforts led by the U.S. and the U.K.
SNR Denton is one of the 25 largest legal services providers in the
world. SNR Denton serves business, government and institutional clients in
eight key sectors: Energy, Transport and Infrastructure; Financial Institutions
and Funds; Government; Health and Life Sciences; Insurance; Manufacturing; Real
Estate, Retail and Hotels; and Technology, Media and Telecommunications.York,
before the United States District Courts for the Middle and Northern Districts
of Georgia, and before the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.