Atlanta (Vocus) August 26, 2010
To address growing concerns about international business crime in Atlanta, the international law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP will co-chair the "Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: (FCPA) International Business and Crime Program" on September 2, 2010, an Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia seminar. Nationally, the number of SEC investigations and prosecutions of senior-level executives due to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations is soaring. These cases often involve enormous fines, sometimes in the billions, and indictments of senior-level corporate officials.
Joe D. Whitley, a shareholder in the firm's Atlanta and Washington, D.C. offices and former Acting Associate Attorney General (the third-ranking position in the Department of Justice) and former U.S. Attorney in Atlanta in the George H.W. Bush administration, will co-chair the event. If a company does business in foreign markets, Whitley said, it is imperative that the company consider attending this seminar.
“Companies are taking a careful look at their corporate bottom line and realizing they can’t afford to pay huge fines and see their profits gutted and some of their key executives under criminal investigation,” said Whitley. “As the nation’s 12th largest export state and ninth largest import state, Georgia plays a prominent role in international business. With the Department of Justice (DOJ) briskly increasing fines for and prosecutions of corporate foreign bribery, companies should be placing a priority on being in compliance with the FCPA in order to avoid the SEC’s scrutiny.”
Under the FCPA, publicly held U.S. companies are prohibited from falsifying foreign payment provisions records. In addition, it is unlawful for U.S. companies to pay or give anything of value to any foreign official to obtain business. The SEC has enforcement authority for the accounting provisions and the DOJ has enforcement authority for the foreign payment provisions.
Whitley recommends the following for companies operating in foreign markets:
1. Develop an effective compliance plan: Per the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, the foremost ingredient of such a program is promoting a culture of due diligence within the company. Simply put, having a compliance plan is not enough. The plan must be implemented and monitored.
2. Evaluate the company’s activities beyond the U.S.: If the company operates in foreign markets, compliance with U.S. laws is not all that should be of concern. Through the activity of the United Nations and the European Union, more and more foreign countries are developing legislation similar to the FCPA.
WHAT: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: International and Business Crime Seminar
WHEN: Thursday, September 2, 2010; 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
WHERE: State Bar of Georgia Headquarters (104 Marietta St. NW, Suite 100; Atlanta, Georgia, 30303)
TO REGISTER: Call (770) 466-0886 or visit http://www.iclega.org/programs/7442.html; the early registration fee is $155 and the on-site registration fee is $175
Whitley has represented numerous individuals and corporations in major government investigations throughout the U.S. and internationally. Prior to joining Greenberg Traurig, he had a wide-ranging career in the Department of Justice. In the George H.W. Bush administration, he served as the Acting Associate Attorney General, the third-ranking position in the Department of Justice. He was appointed by Presidents Reagan and Bush, respectively, to serve as U.S. Attorney in the Middle and Northern Federal Districts of Georgia. Throughout his career, he has served under five U.S. Attorneys General in a number of key operational and policy positions. Earlier in his career, he served as an Assistant Attorney in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit in Columbus, Georgia. In 2003, Joe was appointed by President George W. Bush as the first General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the highest ranking legal official in DHS. He held that position for two years before his departure and return to private practice.
About Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Greenberg Traurig, LLP is an international, full-service law firm with approximately 1800 attorneys serving clients from more than 30 offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. In the U.S., the firm has more offices than any other among the Top 10 on The National Law Journal’s 2009 NLJ 250. In the U.K., the firm operates as Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP. Additionally, Greenberg Traurig has strategic alliances with the following independent law firms: Studio Santa Maria in Milan and Rome and W’Law Weber Wicki Partners Ltd. in Zürich. The firm was Chambers and Partners' USA Law Firm of the Year in 2007 and among the Top 3 in the International Law Firm of the Year at the 2009 The Lawyer Awards. For additional information, please visit http://www.gtlaw.com.