Most Severe Setback To DOJ Thus Far In FCPA Prosecutions: Judge Dismisses All Charges In Africa Sting Case

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Although the government continues to secure record fines against corporations settling violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has faced significant setbacks in FCPA trials, most recently in the “Africa Sting” case.

Two years ago, in January 2010, DOJ announced that twenty-two executives and employees of companies in the military and law enforcement products industry had been indicted for conspiring to bribe foreign government officials to obtain and retain business. Using large-scale undercover law enforcement techniques, the Africa Sting case was hailed as the largest single investigation and prosecution against individuals in DOJ’s history of enforcing FCPA. At the time, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer called the investigation a “turning point” in the FCPA playbook and warned that “would-be FCPA violators should stop and ponder whether the person they are trying to bring might really be a federal agent.”

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon dismissed the indictments in the Africa Sting case, ending what he referred to as “a long and sad chapter in the annals of white collar criminal enforcement.” The government sought dismissal of the indictments after failing to convict a single defendant in two separate trials.

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