News

AGG Attorneys Advise on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Trade Sanctions
April 23, 2010
Arnall Golden Gregory LLP
AGG partner Aaron Danzig, formerly an Assistant United States Attorney and criminal prosecutor for the Northern District of Georgia, and AGG partner Bruce Jackson, have developed for AGG clients a comprehensive program for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and other trade sanctions compliance, training and auditing. With U.S. government step-ups in enforcement, including pending litigation to financially reward whistle-blowers, any company doing any cross border related business should focus on this area.
 
Aaron is a partner in AGG’s Litigation Group. His practice focuses on white collar criminal defense, internal corporate investigations, corporate compliance and governance matters, and business and intellectual property litigation. Bruce is a partner in AGG’s Corporate Practice Group and a member of the firm’s International Business Team and is co-leader of the firm’s Water Resources Practice Team.
 
Aaron and Bruce co-lead the firm’s FCPA and Trade Compliance practice. Aaron recently presented to the management of Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta on FCPA and related compliance issues related to visiting physician programs between AGG client Piedmont Hospital and China. Bruce and Aaron recently presented to and implemented an FCPA compliance program for a global freight forwarder located in Atlanta. Bruce is currently engaged with Aaron, AGG attorney Debbie Buster and other firm attorneys in the implementation of a comprehensive trade sanctions compliance program and audit for a global Luxembourg company with management offices in Atlanta. Bruce and AGG attorney Alan Minsk recently worked to advise a U.S. pharmaceutical company on trade sanctions compliance after the U.S. company acquired an Irish company that was engaged in trade with Syria, where certain trade restrictions apply to U.S. related companies.
 
Enforcement of the FCPA, which prohibits consideration being paid to governments and government related or other political persons to facilitate or retain business, is receiving markedly more emphasis from U.S authorities including the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities Exchange Commission. Pending legislations proposes to richly reward whistle blowers, employees who report alleged FCPA violations. 
 
Companies and individual persons are held strictly liable for any violations, whether intentional or inadvertent. To help mitigate penalties, which can include serious fines and criminal prosecution, companies should have well drafted and consistently implemented FCPA (and other trade sanctions) compliance plans, training programs, management systems and internal audit and incident handling processes.  FCPA compliance should also be addressed in all third party contracts because companies and individuals can be held liable for FCPA violations by their third party contractors. Serious due diligence obligations thus attach to third party contracts. Due diligence is also mandatory for acquisitions. If an acquisition is made where FCPA violations may have occurred in the past, the acquiring company may have obligations ranging from taking future corrective action to reporting the violations discovered.
 
Other trade sanctions issues include obligations of U.S. companies and persons not to do business with any of the thousands of companies, individuals and governments or government agencies listed on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control list of “blocked persons”, the Specially Designated Nationals list. 
 
In addition, detailed trade sanctions prohibit or restrict trade with a list of countries ranging from near total bans for trade with Iran, the Sudan and Cuba to licensed required trade in many other cases.
 
AGG can help guide you through the web of such restrictions where the burden is on you to comply with the law and where violations can easily occur accidentally if you are not wary.