By Christopher M. Matthews | November 12th, 2010

The chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Fraud Section was quoted in the press this week for the second time since he came to the DOJ in January.

“The courts are available to companies if they dispute the department’s interpretation of the [Foreign Corrupt Practices Act],” Fraud Section Chief Denis McInerney said in an interview with Bloomberg News published Friday.

McInerney’s first foray into the media world in his new job came in March, when he was profiled in the Washington Post in an article by Carrie Johnson (who has since moved to NPR).

When McInerney left his job at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in November, his appointment garnered a lot of attention, and some controversy.

Before hiring McInerney, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said he wanted to replace outgoing Fraud Section head Steven Tyrrell, now at Weil Gotshal, with a “rock star.” Some within the DOJ took the remark as a slight at career prosecutors who were not chosen for the job.

McInerney has shaken things up in his new gig, restructuring the rapidly expanding Fraud Section. He has provided the section with greater managerial resources by promoting lawyers within the section to supervisory roles and creating new positions. He has also brought in more than 20 new prosecutors to the health care fraud team and roughly 20 to the FCPA team.

But until recently, McInerney has maintained a relatively low profile. McInerney came out swinging during a speech in October, defending the section’s FCPA team and calling out its critics.

“In preparing for today I read through some of the recent articles about this increased FCPA enforcement… apparently not everyone is fan,” McInerney said during a speech at the American Bar Association’s National Institute on the FCPA.. “One article even appeared to suggest that the real reason prosecutors are engaging in this enforcement program is to secure lucrative employment after they leave the government.”

In Friday’s Bloomberg article, McInerney also underscored the importance of companies devoting resources to thorough internal investigations and said that the DOJ “has given a lot of guidance on the criteria it uses for evaluating a company.”

By Christopher M. Matthews | October 29th, 2010

MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann referenced the U.S. Chamber of Commerce paper calling on Congress to reform the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act during his show Wednesday night.

Keith Olbermann (Wikimedia)

Olbermann’s shout out came the same day Just-Anti-Corruption broke the news that the Chamber was releasing the paper.

Olbermann discussed the paper during his show, “Countdown,” speculating what the agenda of a Republican-controlled Congress might be.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest secret right-wing ad buyer, today released a report calling for weakening the FCPA. What the hell’s that? The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which punishes American business for bribing officials overseas,” Olbermann said.

“Unfortunately for the business community, an active FCPA enforcement environment appears likely to continue,” Olbermann said, adding: “The Chamber wants to make it easier for American companies to do business with corrupt officials.”

While DOJ might support Olbermann’s interpretation of the paper, I’m pretty sure the Chamber, and plenty in the FCPA defense bar, would take issue with it. At the very least, the FCPA is entering the mainstream media.

Click here to see the video (the FCPA discussion begins at 3:40).

By Christopher M. Matthews | October 13th, 2010

Some encouraging news out of Nigeria today.

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By Christopher M. Matthews | October 7th, 2010

The head of an Equitorial Guinea human rights NGO is in Paris this week to lobby board members of the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to cancel what detractors call its “dictator prize,” a science award financed by notoriously corrupt Equatorial Guinean President Theodoro Obiang.

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By Christopher M. Matthews | September 21st, 2010

You know you’ve arrived when your name gets dropped on The Young and the Restless, or at least you know that thousands of stay-at-home moms, and dads, are aware of your existence.

Such is the case for the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or should I say, the “Foreign Practices Corrupt Act.”

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By Christopher M. Matthews | September 14th, 2010

The U.K. Bribery Act seems to generate two different reactions in the oil and gas industry, often depending on which side of the Atlantic Ocean a company is located.

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By Christopher M. Matthews | September 13th, 2010

Ordinarily, the discovery a major oil field within a country’s borders would be cause for national celebration. In Ghana, it musters mixed emotions.

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By Christopher M. Matthews | September 3rd, 2010

A testy debate is developing in South Africa over who leaked information about expiring rights to the country’s largest iron mine. Who the source of the leak is could have huge implications for potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act charges.

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By Christopher M. Matthews | August 31st, 2010

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations are a major issue in the realm of mergers and acquisitions. A number of M&As have been derailed because of a fear of successor liability — the  inherent responsibility of the buyer for past FCPA violations of the private entity it has acquired.

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By Christopher M. Matthews | August 19th, 2010

The U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act probe of the pharmaceutical industry has gotten a lot of recently. Last Thursday, The Financial Times ran a cover story on the probe, which was followed by a New York Times story on Friday. And today, The Times of India elbowed into the fray with story of its own.

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About Christopher M. Matthews

Chris covers corruption and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.