Monday, April 18, 2011

Potpourri

AG Holder On Corruption

Last week Attorney General Eric Holder was in Slovenia to speak at The Balkans Justice Ministerial. In his speech (here) AG Holder focused on the "global fight against corruption."

Holder stated as follows.

"Corruption strikes hardest at the most vulnerable among us, siphoning scarce resources away from those most in need. It advances the selfish desires of a dishonest few over the best interests of those who work hard and obey the law. In countries rich and poor, large and small – corruption erodes trust in government and private institutions alike. It undermines confidence in the fairness of free and open markets. It stifles competition and repels foreign investment. It hinders progress, and it breeds contempt for the rule of law."

"And yet corruption continues to flourish."

Holder stressed that "all nations struggle against corruption" and that the U.S "is no exception."

Holder called on all nations "to ratify – and to fully implement – the UN Convention Against Corruption." (See here).

As to asset recovery, Holder repeated his call first made in Qatar (see here for the prior post) that asset recovery (i.e. ensuring that corrupt officials do not retain illicit proceeds) "isn’t just a global necessity – it’s a moral imperative."

U.K. Oil for Food Sentence

With its approximately twenty corporate enforcement actions connected to the U.N. Iraq Oil for Food Program, the U.S. is clearly the leader in collecting corporate fines connected to this scandal plagued, defunct program.

The U.K. however has clearly emerged as the leader in holding individuals (not just corporations) to account for illegal behavior in connection with the program.

Last week, the U.K. Serious Fraud Office announced (here) that Mark Jessop admitted to breaking U.N. sanctions during the Oil For Food Program by making illegal payments to Saddam Hussein's government. The release states that Jessop was sentenced to 24 weeks' imprisonment. According to the release, Jessop was ordered to pay £150,000 to the Development Fund for Iraq and pay prosecution costs of £25,000. Jessop sold medical goods to Iraq, initially as an employee of a British surgical instruments company, but later through his own companies - JJ Bureau Ltd and Opthalmedex Ltd, of which he was sole director.

For other recent U.K. Oil for Food sentences, see here for the prior post.

Resource Extraction Disclosures

Remember Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act? (See here for the prior post).

The Huffington Post reports (here) that the April 15th deadline for the SEC to issue final implementing regulations has passed. According to the SEC (see here) the new target date for final implementing rules is between August and December.

I guess this is what happens when an ill-conceived, poorly drafted law is inserted into a massive piece of legislation as a miscellaneous provision at the last moment without any meaningful debate or analysis.

World Bank News

Last week, the World Bank released (here) a "Declaration of Agreed Principles for Effective Global Enforcement to Counter Corruption." See here for the press release.

The release also notes that the World Bank's Integrity office's ("INT") FY10 results include "117 investigations in FY10, with 45 debarments of firms and individuals for engaging in wrongdoing." For INT's FY2010 Annual Report, see here.

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