Anti-Bribery Compliance: The Global Reach of the FCPA’s Anti-Bribery Provisions

In terms of the global reach of the FCPA and anti-bribery compliance, the resolution of the U.S. Department of Justice with J&F Investimentos SA (“J&F”), a privately-held Brazilian holding company, demonstrates the degree to which the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions can reach into the corrupt practices of foreign companies within their own country.1  An outgrowth of an investigation commonly referred to as “Operation Car Wash” in Brazil, the activities encompassed by the resolution largely involved Brazilian companies and the payment of bribes to officials of government-owned or controlled entities in Brazil.

J&F planned and directed the various schemes.  This entailed funneling massive bribes to officials of a number of government-owned or controlled entities in Brazil,2 including the Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (“BNDES”),3 a Brazilian state-owned and state-controlled bank that performed government functions, Caixa Econômica Federal (“Caixa”),4 a Brazilian state-owned and state-controlled bank that performed government functions, and Fundação Petrobras de Seguridade Social (“Petros”), a Brazilian state-controlled pension fund that performed government functions.5

The vast majority of what took place was outside of the United States and mostly within Brazil.  But the scheme was complex and involved shell companies and “off-shore” jurisdictions.  On a relative basis, what took place within the territory of the United States was extremely limited: travel to New York to purchase an apartment as a bribe payment,6  the transfer of funds from an investment bank headquartered in the United States,7 two meetings in New York to facilitate the bribery scheme,8  the payment of a utility and condominium payments for the New York apartment.9

Yet, the limited activity within the United States established the basis for territorial jurisdiction to apply under 15 U.S.C. § 78dd-3.10  Due to the limited activity within the United States in conjunction with the conspiracy to bribe officials of government-owned and controlled entities, the Department of Justice was able to address domestic corruption within Brazil.  But the implications of that corruption extended far beyond the borders of Brazil.  And, indeed, the government of Brazil through Operation Car Wash and its ministries was also involved in taking action against the corruption associated with J&F and countless other entities.


1Information, United States v. J&F Investimentos SA, No. 20-CR-365 (E.D.N.Y., Oct. 14, 2020), ECF No. 3.

2E.g,, id., at ¶ 18.

3Id., at ¶ 6.

4Id., at ¶ 7.

5Id., at ¶ 9.

6Id., at ¶¶ 56(a), (b), (c).

7Id., at ¶¶ 17, 56(d).

8Id., at ¶¶ 56(e), (f).

9Id., at ¶¶ 56(g), (h).

10Id., at ¶ 55.


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