Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that JPMorgan Chase & Co. (“JPMorgan”) and its Hong Kong-based subsidiary, JPMorgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Limited (“JPMorgan-APAC”), agreed to pay over $264 million to settle charges that JPMorgan violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) by providing jobs and internships to relatives and friends of clients, including government officials, in order to obtain business in the Asia-Pacific region.

The enforcement action resulted in a DOJ Non-Prosecution Agreement (“NPA”) with JPMorgan-APAC (JPMorgan also agreed to certain terms and obligations under the NPA), which included a $72 million criminal penalty, as well as a SEC Cease-and-Desist Order against JPMorgan, under which the company agreed to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest of approximately $130 million. Further, the Federal Reserve Board, which lacks FCPA enforcement authority, also announced that JPMorgan agreed to pay a nearly $62 million civil penalty for “unsafe and unsound” hiring practices.

According to the SEC order and the DOJ NPA, investment bankers at JPMorgan-APAC instituted a client referral hiring program that bypassed the company’s regular hiring process and gave well-paying, career-building jobs to candidates referred by client executives and influential government officials. From 2006 to 2013, JPMorgan-APAC hired approximately 100 interns and full-time employees referred by clients, including executives at state-owned enterprises, owned or controlled by the Chinese government, which the enforcement agencies deem government “instrumentalities” covered by the FCPA. From the outset, the goal of the program was to boost JPMorgan-APAC’s business.
Continue Reading JPMorgan Chase Will Pay $264 Million to Settle FCPA Charges Relating to Improper Hiring Practices

On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Luis v. United States, No. 14-419, slip op., that the pretrial restraint of legitimate, untainted assets needed to retain counsel of choice violates the Sixth Amendment. Accordingly, the Court overturned an Eleventh Circuit ruling permitting the government to prevent a criminal defendant from using funds earned outside the scope of alleged crimes to hire private defense counsel.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Restricts Pretrial Freezing of Untainted Assets

At the American Conference Institute’s 9th Annual Houston Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Boot Camp, January 27-28, 2015, Deputy Criminal Chief Jason Varnado, from the Major Fraud Section of the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Texas, offered the audience of compliance and audit professionals insight into what the Department of Justice (DOJ) expects to see in corporate FCPA compliance programs.  Varnado recently returned to Houston from Washington, D.C., where he served as DOJ’s White Collar and Cyber Crime Coordinator.  After first disclaiming that the views he expressed were his own and not those of DOJ, Varnado outlined the Top Ten things the government looks for when evaluating corporate compliance programs.
Continue Reading DOJ’s “Top 10” for Effective FCPA Compliance Programs

Last week, a judge in the U.S. District Court in Camden, New Jersey ruled that prosecutors can use secretly recorded conversations between Joseph Sigelman, the former chief executive officer of PetroTiger, and the company’s former general counsel, Gregory Weisman, in Sigelman’s upcoming trial.  Judge Joseph E. Irenas explained that the mere existence of an attorney-client relationship is not sufficient to make conversations privileged.  Rather, attorney-client conversations are protected only if the client is seeking, or the attorney is providing, legal advice. 
Continue Reading General Counsel’s Secret Recordings Ruled Admissible Against CEO