January can be a dismal month. The joy of the holiday season has diminished, our waistlines have expanded, it's cold, and for many readers of this blog - it is time to start cranking out the billable hours again upon realizing, at this point, you are "annualized" at 600 hours.
But for FCPA watchers, it's a different story as the holiday season has traditionally extended into the first week of January - the week in which Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher releases its Year-End FCPA Report (see here).
Part year in review, part marketing document, the report is a useful resource for those interested in following FCPA developments.
A couple of thoughts.
The number of DOJ FCPA enforcement actions noted in the report (26) is significantly inflated by separately including corporate prosecutions and related individual prosecutions. While this number is a good attention grabber, it is subject to debate whether 2009 was a record-enforcement year as corporate FCPA prosecutions by the DOJ slowed to a trickle in the second half of 2009. Since July 2009, there have been only two substantive DOJ FCPA enforcement actions against corporations (Control Components and UTStarcom). Whether the widely reported 100+ cases in the “pipeline” are taking longer to resolve, being resolved informally with no public disclosure, or about to burst onto the scene in 2010 is an open question and remains to be seen.
I've noted before that FCPA enforcement is a "unique creature." I'll say it again after reading this sentence in the report concerning the SEC's charges against Bobby Benton (see here for a prior post) - "the fact that Benton did not settle the charges against him is remarkable in and of itself."