FCPA Red Flags, HP and Big Papi

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As most readers know, the author is an avid baseball fan. So it was not without some small interest when a term most often associated with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance world was used on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight to describe a hitter’s batting characteristics. Recently, commentator and former big league manager, Buck Showalter discussed the current batting slump of Big Papi, David Ortiz, by noting that his inability to hit the off-speed was a Red Flag for what is really ailing him, decreased bat speed. Showalter explained that the reason Big Papi’s failure to hit a curve ball was a Red Flag which indicates a bigger problem; Ortiz has to amp up to hit a fastball so much now that he is susceptible to being quite easily fooled by an off-speed pitch.

In the FCPA compliance world a Red Flag can also be equally indicative of a larger problem. As reported in The Russia Monitor on May 4, 2010, high-level executives at a Hewlett-Packard (HP) subsidiary made payments, through agents, to the Russian Prosecutor General's office in order to obtain the contract to supply computers to that office. There was a complicated financing scheme used to route payments to offshore accounts beneficially owned or controlled by unnamed Russian officials; funneling the suspected bribes through a network of shell companies and accounts in places including Britain, Austria, Switzerland, the British Virgin Islands, Belize, New Zealand, Latvia, Lithuania, and the US states of Delaware and Wyoming. The bribes were paid through three German agents, who submitted fake invoices for non-existent sales and then paid the money on as bribes to unnamed Russian governmental officials.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Thomas Fox, Compliance Evangelist | Attorney Advertising

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