FCPA/Anti-Corruption

Our lawyers have worked on some of the largest and most significant FCPA matters in recent years as counsel to companies, individuals, and independent board committees.  The firm’s FCPA team is comprised of former prosecutors, including a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who prosecuted a leading FCPA case involving a bribery scheme in Azerbaijan, and several lawyers from top-tier big firms with broad-ranging FCPA experience, including the representation of Siemens AG in the largest-ever FCPA internal and regulatory investigation.

In addition to our extensive experience with FCPA investigations, our lawyers serve as trusted advisors to clients on FCPA matters and related issues.  They have led due diligence reviews and provided compliance advice and training for multinational companies across a wide spectrum of industries including engineering, energy, consumer products, financial services, and construction.  In FCPA matters, as in our White Collar Defense & Regulation practice generally, our goal is always to advance our clients’ objectives through thoughtful and practical counseling, vigorous advocacy, and timely, efficient, and favorable resolution of any investigation.

Our European and U.S. offices frequently work together in assisting clients in cross-border investigations led by the U.S. Department of Justice. Our Paris team also represents clients before the French anti-corruption agency (AFA – Agence Française Anticorruption).

Key Contacts

All Attorneys

Investigations

Represented Siemens AG in the largest-ever FCPA internal and regulatory investigation. This representation involved participation in a complex, worldwide review of alleged corrupt payments and books and records violations, including representation before U.S. and foreign regulatory and criminal authorities.

Represented one of the world’s largest consumer products and manufacturing corporations in a wide-ranging FCPA investigation in India.

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Due Diligence

Led FCPA and anti-corruption due diligence for an energy company on an acquisition target in Mexico.

Led FCPA and anti-corruption due diligence for a mining company on an acquisition target in West Africa.

Compliance Advice and Training

Spearheaded compliance counseling and training seminars for a diverse range of multinational companies and financial services firms, including a technology company, a private equity firm, a food and beverage company, and an environmental abatement products company.

Advised a hedge fund on potential FCPA issues concerning a possible investment by a Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Provided FCPA counseling for an international quick service restaurant chain, including drafting an anti-corruption compliance policy, a due diligence questionnaire for FCPA compliance, and model contract provisions for use in contracting with foreign entities.

Represented a major sports league in FCPA compliance counseling.

Reviewed and revised compliance policies and procedures for Fortune Global 100 consumer products company and provided training to senior management and employees in foreign field offices.

Significant Prosecution in the U.S. Attorney’s Office

United States v. Viktor Kozeny and Frederic Bourke.  One of the firm’s attorneys served as a lead prosecutor in an FCPA case involving a bribery scheme in connection with a state-run privatization program in Azerbaijan, which resulted in the conviction of Frederic Bourke in July 2009 in one of the few FCPA cases ever tried.

Cohen & Gresser announces the expansion of its white collar defense offering with the appointment of Tim Harris as a senior associate in the firm’s London office. Tim brings a long track record as a financial crime lawyer and will focus primarily on white collar matters, including internal and regulatory investigations. He also provides noncontentious advice with respect to tax evasion, antibribery and corruption, and antimoney laundering regulations.

A Cohen & Gresser litigation team led by Mark S Cohen and Jonathan S Abernethy recently won a major victory in a high profile Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) case on behalf of client, Vanja Baros, a former investment analyst with hedge fund Och-Ziff (one of the world’s largest publicly traded hedge funds). In July, a federal court in New York dismissed the SEC’s entire complaint against Baros and his co-defendant, and the SEC recently declined to appeal the court’s decision, which is therefore final.

Global Investigations Review (GIR) has nominated Cohen & Gresser for its Most Important Court Case of the Year award for C&G’s major victory in a high profile FCPA case on behalf of a former investment analyst with international hedge fund Och-Ziff. A federal court in New York dismissed the SEC’s entire complaint against our client and his co-defendant, and the SEC declined to appeal. Mark S Cohen and Jonathan S Abernethy led the C&G team, which also included S Gale Dick, Colin C Bridge, and Reggie B Schafer. 

Cohen & Gresser announces the expansion of its London office and White Collar Defense & Regulation group with the appointment of partner John W Gibson.

A former U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) senior prosecutor, John will focus his practice on cross-border corporate investigations and white collar defense. He has over 25 years of experience as a barrister, and advises on all matters relating to law enforcement, regulatory and internal investigation of suspected crimes and regulatory breaches, as well as the defense of companies and individuals. In addition, John has expertise in data strategy and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in big data litigation and investigations.

Cohen & Gresser is pleased to announce the expansion of the firm's Litigation & Arbitration practice, as partner Ronald F Wick and associate Erica Lai have joined our Washington D.C. office. Ronald's practice focuses on litigation concerning trade regulation, antitrust, and commercial disputes. He was previously a partner  in Cozen O'Connor's  Washington, D.C. office. Erica's practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, including antitrust, False Claims Act, administrative law, copyright litigation, and breach of contract. Prior to joining the firm, Erica was a senior associate at Covington & Burling LLP.

Chambers USA ranked Cohen & Gresser's White Collar Defense group and listed its Securities Litigation group as a Recognized Practice. In its analysis, Chambers USA commented that the firm is "[n]oted for its litigation capabilities across the full spectrum of industry sectors" and has a "[r]espected white-collar crime and government investigations practice." 

Mark S. Cohen is ranked in the White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations category, has been described as being an "effective advocate and very effective at counseling a client through a very difficult investigative process."  Jonathan S Abernethy, also ranked in the White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations category, received praise for his "excellent knowledge of the law."

Mark Cohen spoke to Compliance Week for its article “Ralph Lauren vs. Total: A Tale of Two FCPA Violators,” which highlighted the very different outcomes for clothing retailer Ralph Lauren Corp. and French oil and gas company Total S.A. for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations. Cohen remarks, “The size of the bribes and how many years they've been paid out speak to the government's view of the company's conduct.” He added, “A larger bribe paid out over many years is going to be a more negative factor for a company than a one-time incident.”

Jonathan S Abernethy, S Gale Dick, and Christian R Everdell authored an article titled “The Department of Justice’s new ‘piling on’ policy” for the International Bar Association’s October 2018 Criminal Law and Business Crime Newsletter.

This article first appeared on the website of the Criminal Law Committee of the Legal Practice Division of the International Bar Association, and is reproduced by kind permission of the International Bar Association, London, UK. © International Bar Association.

South Korea’s equivalent to the FCPA is the Foreign Bribery Prevention Act or FBPA for short. Although passed more than 15 years ago, it was rarely used—until now.  Recent activity under the act is an encouraging sign that Korea may be stepping up its enforcement activity.

Recent court decisions concerning the interplay of the FCPA and personal jurisdiction over foreign nationals provide guidance for corporate counsel on FCPA risks. The bottomline—adopt, maintain, and continually update robust compliance and training programs throughout the organization, set the proper tone at management levels throughout the company, and, as appropriate, insist that third party intermediaries with whom the company works follow those same policies.

The long arm of U.S. law can be seen clearly in recent enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or FCPA, a criminal law prohibiting bribery of non-U.S. government officials. Companies whose operations even remotely touch the U.S. and who therefore could come within the FCPA’s jurisdiction should consider implementing anti-corruption compliance programs to prevent, detect, and remediate violations. Such programs can be a key mitigating factor in U.S. regulators’ decisions whether to bring an enforcement action or in the penalties sought if an action is brought.

The Guide addresses several key issues arising from the FCPA on which multinationals have long sought guidance, including (i) the elements of an effective anti-corruption compliance program; (ii) gifts and entertainment expenses; (iii) facilitating payments; (iv) the FCPA's broad definition of "foreign official"; (v) successor liability when a company merges with or acquires another company that has committed acts of bribery; and (vi) FCPA jurisdiction over foreign companies that do not trade on U.S. exchanges.

Discussed on a panel the application of the U.K. Bribery Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and comparable legislation in France and Ireland to the age-old problem of public corruption at the New York State Bar Association International Section Spring Meeting.

C&G partner Jonathan S Abernethy will speak at the 2014 Annual Conference of the International Association of Korean Lawyers (IAKL) at Fordham Law School in New York City.  Mr. Abernethy will be a panelist on the Conference’s Anti-Corruption Panel, and will address, among other subjects, recent trends in FCPA enforcement and how companies can mitigate risks through effective compliance programs and procedures.

Drawing prominent members of the white–collar bar, this panel addresses current issues relating to government investigations and compliance, public integrity, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act