DOJ Will Keep Enforcing Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

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On white-collar-crime prosecutions, the Jeff Sessions Justice Department is sounding a lot like the last administration. Don’t expect major changes on white-collar and corporate crime, a senior agency official said yesterday, citing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a sweeping law that bars U.S.-linked companies from paying bribes to foreign officials, the Wall Street Journal reports. “The department remains committed to enforcing the FCPA and to prosecuting fraud and corruption more generally,” said Trevor McFadden, the number-two official in the Justice Department’s criminal division.

The Justice Department aggressively stepped up prosecutions under the bribery law during the Obama administration, with years of record penalties. In December, it reached the largest such settlement ever, with Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht SA, which agreed to pay more than $2.6 billion to authorities in Brazil, the U.S. and Switzerland in connection with a graft scheme that landed dozens of powerful figures in prison. President Trump in 2012 called FCPA a “horrible law” that was turning the U.S. into the “policeman for the world.” Sessions promised during his confirmation hearing to continue enforcing it. McFadden, who joined the department in January, is serving in an acting capacity.

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