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On April 20, the DOJ entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with an Illinois-based international medical waste management company, in which the company agreed to pay a fine of approximately $52.5 million related to a conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provision and books and records provisions. Together with a related resolution with the SEC, and with various foreign authorities, the total resolution will reach over $84 million.
According to the DOJ, between 2011 and 2016, the company participated in a scheme to bribe officials at government agencies and instrumentalities in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina to obtain and retain business and to secure improper advantages in connection with providing waste management services. An executive at the company’s Latin America division directed employees in the company’s offices in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina to pay bribes, typically in cash, that were calculated as a percentage of the underlying contract payments owed to the company from government customers.
As part of the DPA, the company agreed to cooperate with the DOJ’s ongoing or future investigations, to improve its compliance program, and to retain an independent compliance monitor for two years, followed by self-reporting for the remainder of the term.
The DOJ noted that in addition to cooperation and remediation the resolution reflects a number of factors including, the company’s (i) “failure to voluntarily and timely disclose the conduct that triggered the investigation”; and (ii) “the nature, seriousness, and pervasiveness of the offense.”
The SEC simultaneously announced a resolution of a related matter, in which the company consented to a cease-and-desist order finding violations of the FCPA’s anti-bribery, books and records, and internal accounting controls provisions. According to the SEC, the scheme also included sham third-party vendors who used false invoices to conceal cash payments to government clients. In addition, the company failed to have sufficient internal accounting controls in place to prevent or detect the misconduct and failed to implement its FCPA policies or procedures prior to 2016. Under the terms of the order, the company agreed to pay $28.2 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest, of which up to $4.2 million will be offset by disgorgement paid to foreign authorities.
On August 24, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 13818 against three Paraguayan individuals and five entities under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. According to OFAC, the designations highlight the financial risks and activities where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay converge, which is marked by many unregistered money exchange houses, trade based money laundering, and a lack of awareness regarding money laundering and terrorist financing typologies, among other things. As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property belonging to the sanctioned persons, and “any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more” by them that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. OFAC notes that its regulations generally prohibit U.S. persons from participating in transactions with these individual and entities, which include “the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.”
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