The recently announced BNP sanctions settlement is remarkable in so many ways: the behavior is outrageous, the $9 billion criminal penalty is record-setting, and 13 employees were terminated. However, the most interesting part of the story may be the idea that the DOJ is exploring ways to use the forfeited funds to compensate individuals who may have been harmed by the sanctioned regimes of Sudan, Iran and Cuba.
Entries in Victims Rights (49)
The BOTA Foundation surpassed most of the expectations that its founders had for it. BOTA was able to efficiently and effectively return more than $115 million (the original $84 million associated with corruption plus accrued interest frozen Pictet and Cie Swiss bank account) to poor children, youth and their families.
BOTA had three programs, with its largest, the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program, briefly explained in the previous post. Funds from the Pictet and Cie bank account associated with James Giffen and President Nazarbayev were used in two other ways to help poor children and youth in Kazakhstan: via a NGO grants program, called the Social Service Program (SSP), and through a scholarship program known as the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
The background of BOTA Foundation was explored in previous posts. Starting with this post I would like to explain what BOTA actually did in its five and a half years of operation.
BOTA was the first foundation ever established as a result of an FCPA case, and the question explored in this post is how it was set up.
The BOTA Foundation explained (Part Five): The roles of the U.S., Switzerland, and the World Bank in BOTA's creation
In the case of BOTA, it took four to tango: the governments of Kazakhstan, the United States, Switzerland and the World Bank. For Kazakhstan, as explained in the previous post, BOTA provided a face-saving "out" for President Nazerbayev. Talks between the U.S., Switzerland and Kazakhstan on the disposition of the $84 million, plus accrued interest, in the Swiss Pictet and Cie Bank, started in 2003, shortly after James Giffen was arrested and charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The story of the failed FCPA prosecution of James Giffen is likely familiar to many readers of the FCPA Blog. Following a three-year investigation by the DOJ that started in 1999, in March 2003 Giffen was arrested as he was boarding a Paris bound plane at JFK.
Sandy Sierck, a long-time friend of the FCPA Blog, has again pressed forward in his effort to compensate corruption’s true victims: the citizens whose governments have failed them.
Friends of the FCPA Blog -- Sandy Sierck and Nick Diamond, who represent the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project in Nigeria -- have another good idea. For years, SERAP has been petitioning the DOJ and SEC to return enforcement revenues to the real victims of overseas corruption: the citizens of the corrupt governments. Their latest proposal is a slam dunk.
It's astonishingly good news that after forty years of trial and error to develop the compliance profession, the law finally evolved to require both a new business “culture” and the compliance officer position to make this “culture” happen. We should be the first to remind others and ourselves that this work is an historic opportunity. On the other hand, the challenges to “culture building” are present both inside and outside our companies.
Professor Elizabeth Spahn spoke for victims of bribery before most of us had discovered the topic. She has defended compliance as pro-business and condemned bribes for destroying capitalism. More eloquently than anyone else, she has stood for the idea -- once derided and now embraced -- that compliance and enforcement can change the world and help people live better lives.