On July 19, 2017, Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco spoke at the Atlantic Council Inter-American Dialogue Event. Blanco addressed a number of topics, including transnational criminal investigations and prosecutions, U.S. and Brazilian cooperation, and the DOJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. Blanco expressed that the DOJ is committed to working with partners, like Brazil.
With respect to transnational criminal investigations and prosecutions, Blanco highlighted the global nature of the criminal schemes the DOJ investigates and prosecutes. He noted that the DOJ’s biggest investigations are increasingly transnational and often involve multiple foreign jurisdictions. For this reason, Blanco added, the DOJ has relied more and more on international cooperation with its foreign partners.
Turning to U.S. and Brazilian cooperation, Blanco praised the cooperative relationship between the U.S. DOJ and Brazilian prosecutors, noting that the two have cooperated and substantially assisted each other on a number of matters. Specifically, Blanco highlighted four FCPA cases that involved coordination with Brazilian prosecutors: Embraer, Rolls Royce, Braskem, and Odebrecht. Blanco noted that Odebrecht was particularly noteworthy and explained that Brazil and the U.S., with the assistance of Switzerland, were able to attain the largest global fine ever imposed in a corruption case.
Blanco next addressed the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, which is designed to target and recover the proceeds of foreign official corruption after they have been laundered through the U.S. According to Blanco, the DOJ recently brought its largest action ever against 1Malaysia Development Berhad, in which the DOJ sought to recover well over $1.7 billion. Blanco also stressed that in kleptocracy cases, one of the goals is return assets to victims of criminal activity. He cited the DOJ’s returning of $1.5 million to Taiwan as an example.