Anti-Bribery Compliance: Multinational Investigations

The information filed in United States v. Airbus, SE alleged a conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA and a conspiracy to violate U.S. export controls.1  Airbus is neither an issuer nor a domestic concern.  The jurisdictional predicate was based on actions taken within the territory of the United States, including emails emanating from the United State as well as sponsoring luxury travel for foreign officials to the United States.2

While the information alleged widespread anti-bribery violations,3 it focused on a scheme to bribe Chinese officials.4  That scheme was extremely complex.5  It involved elaborate efforts to conceal the realities of what was taking place.  The essence of the scheme was directing funds to a third party who, in turn, redirected the funds to another third party who was directed the improper inducements to Chinese officials.6  Separately, arrangements were also made to fund luxurious travel to the United States.7

The resolution typified the degree to which investigations have become multinational.  The Deferred Prosecution Agreement indicates that investigation by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office prompted Airbus to make a belated disclosure to the Justice Department.8  The convergence of investigations of Airbus and their joint resolution demonstrates the degree to which there is and can be international cooperation,[9 including with the Multilateral Lending Institutions.10

Indeed, British, French, and U.S. authorities entered into a deferred prosecution agreement.11  Extensive and ongoing obligations to British, French, and U.S. authorities were imposed as a condition of the deferred prosecution agreement.12  Moreover, the ultimate resolution with the U.S. Justice Department giving deference to British and French authorities in terms of the apportionment of the multibillion dollar fine.13

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1Criminal Information, United States v. Airbus SE, No. 20-cr-00021 (D.D.C. Jan. 28, 2020), ECF No. 1.

2Id., ¶¶ 16, 21, 160(b), (c), 161(a), (f), (g).

3Id., ¶ 22.

4Id., ¶¶ 36-44.

5Id., ¶¶ 45-91.

6Id., ¶¶ 39-41.

7Id., ¶¶ 92-97.

8Deferred Prosecution Agreement, United States v. Airbus SE, No. 20-cr-00021 (D.D.C. Jan. 31, 2020), ECF No. 8..

9Id., ¶ 4.

10Id., ¶ 9.

11Id., ¶¶ 12, 17-18.

12Id., ¶¶ 10

13Id., ¶ 4(f).

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