Lane Powell Co-Hosts FCPA Roundtable With Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer
Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), was the featured guest at a February 13 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) Roundtable Discussion hosted by Lane Powell, the Microsoft Corporation, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and the Center for Responsible Enterprise and Trade.
Dwight Holton, Counsel to the Firm and a member of Lane Powell’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Bribery and International Anti-Corruption practice, who worked closely with Breuer when Holton was U.S. Attorney for Oregon from 2010 to 2011, invited Breuer to sit down with leaders in the corporate community to discuss how companies that engage in international business can ensure legal compliance in their dealings with foreign governments.
During the event, Breuer also discussed the drafting of his resource guide, released on November 15, 2012, titled “A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” which provides guidance on the DOJ’s and the Securities Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) approach to FCPA enforcement. Breuer’s staff spent hundreds of hours with SEC officials while drafting the resource guide and he explained at the Roundtable that the effort at transparency prompted joint consideration of priorities in a way never before undertaken, helping the DOJ and SEC harmonize their enforcement efforts.
Breuer also emphasized the importance of effective compliance programs. He cited a recent example where a managing director at Morgan Stanley was prosecuted, but the company was not charged or cited because the DOJ concluded that the director’s conduct was contrary to an effective compliance program.
During the discussion, a general counsel attendee asked Breuer about the risks that a responsible corporation bears when acquiring a foreign company. Breuer responded that acquiring companies who investigate, discover and report past wrongdoing by the acquired company need not fear sanction if they implement effective compliance going forward, however individual wrongdoers at the acquired company may be held accountable. He also stated there has been an increase in FCPA enforcement that has been fueled by hardball investigative techniques, such as the use of wiretaps and of cooperating witnesses to dismantle organizations.
The event was attended by corporate counsels, legal professionals and senior business leaders in Bellevue, Wash., at the Harbor Club. Breuer called the appearance his “Swan Song,” as the event was the last trip he will take as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the DOJ.