On November 9, 2017, then–Acting Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Criminal Division Kenneth A. Blanco delivered remarks at the NYU School of Law’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act / Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (“FCPA/OECD”) Anniversary Conference in New York, held this year to mark the 40th anniversary of the FCPA and the 20th anniversary of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention (the “Convention”). Blanco, who has since left the DOJ and will now serve as Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) within the Department of the Treasury, heralded the working relationships that have developed between the DOJ, SEC, and OECD in efforts to combat official bribery since the passage of the FCPA and the Convention. Blanco emphasized the importance of the international cooperation and collaboration facilitated by the Convention’s mutual assistance, peer evaluation, and monitoring provisions, noting the DOJ’s FCPA enforcement program “would not be where it is today without the help of” the OECD’s Working Group on Bribery and its member countries. He highlighted several recent criminal FCPA cases brought by the DOJ since 2016 that have resulted in the collection of more than $1.6 billion in fines, penalties, and disgorgement, and stressed the importance of international law enforcement cooperation in gathering evidence. Blanco further noted the need for coordination between governments on global resolutions to avoid the imposition of duplicative penalties and “ensure fairness to the companies and provide the right incentives for companies to cooperate fully with the relevant jurisdictions implicated” in alleged bribery cases.
Blanco’s remarks also included discussion of “outstanding” recent results of the DOJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, which targets proceeds of foreign official corruption that have been laundered into or through the United States with the goal of returning the assets to countries harmed by such criminal conduct. Blanco highlighted cases brought under the Kleptocracy Initiative to recover assets allegedly stolen by officials of Malaysia, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria. At the conclusion of his remarks, Blanco provided an overview of FCPA trial convictions and resolutions in 2017 to date, noting there have been more convictions or guilty pleas by individuals this year than in any previous year and suggesting there are more cases forthcoming in the near future.