FCPA Compliance and Ethics Blog

October 2, 2012

Tyco NPA and Chris Economaki – Details from the Pits

“This is Chris Economaki in the pits.”

That was the signature line of race car announcer Chris Economaki, who died last week at the age of 91. For a generation of us who grew up watching ABC’s Wide World of Sports, Chris Economaki was the voice of the Indy 500, the Dayton 500, the Summer and Winter Nationals of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and a host of other auto races. In addition to having one of the most unique names this Southerner had ever heard of, Economaki had a staccato vocal delivery that, as noted in his obituary in the New York Times (NYT) by writer Douglas Martin, “reminded some of a rumbling racing engine.”

The Bribery Schemes

I thought about Chris Economaki and the detail he brought as a track-side commentator to a generation of Wide World of Sports’ aficionados when considering the various documents released last week in connection with the Tyco International Ltd (Tyco) Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement action. For the most comprehensive summary of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) criminal enforcement action and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) civil action, I recommend either of the FCPA Professor’s excellent posts on Tyco. In addition to the points raised by the Professor I believe that there are significant lessons learned for the FCPA compliance practitioner. With a tip of our collective caps to the baseball pennant races which are down to the final few days, I present the Tyco Bribery Box Score.

Tyco

Subsidiary

Bribe Amount Paid

Profits Earned by Conduct

M/A Com Not reported $71,770
TTC Huzhou and TTC Shanghai $196,267 $3,470,180
TWW Germany and Erhard $2,371,094 $4,684,966
TFC HK and Keystone $137,000 $378,088
TFCT Shanghai $24,000 $59,412
ET Thailand $292,268 $879,258
TFIS France $363,839 $1,256,389
THC China $250,000 $353,800
TVC ME $488,479 $1,153,500
ADT Thailand $78,000 $473,262
Tatra $96,000 $226,863
Eurapipe $358,000 $1,298,453
THC Saudi Arabia Not reported $1,900,600
Dulmison $68,426 $109,249

I set out the full Box Score of bribes paid by Tyco in this detail to emphasize how bad the conduct of the company is and this is in the VERY BAD CONDUCT realm, coupled with the facts that (a) Tyco is now a two-time loser under the FCPA and (b) most of the illegal conduct occurred after Tyco agreed to an initial FCPA based Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) in 2006 for prior FCPA sins. Yet even with all of this Tyco was able to obtain a Non Prosecution Agreement (NPA). Such a result is fairly stunning if you think about it in a superficial basis. However, if you consider what Paul McNulty continually says, and which I continually write about, the most important question will be What did you do when you found out about it?

As noted in the letter from the DOJ to counsel for Tyco, the DOJ entered into the NPA with Tyco based upon the following factors: (1) timely and voluntary self-disclosure; (2) a full and complete global investigation by Tyco; (3) extensive remediation including implementation of an enhanced compliance program, termination of employees responsible for the conduct at issue, severing contracts with third party agents who were parties to the frauds, closing subsidiaries involved in the illegal conduct; and (4) provide annual written reports to the DOJ on progress of the company’s enhanced compliance program.

Corporate Compliance Program

Tyco agreed to a robust corporate compliance program that either currently exists or will be implemented in the future. This Corporate Compliance Program is somewhat different than most of the 13 minimum best practices compliance regimes reported in DPAs and NPAs since the Panalpina DPA of November, 2010. Tyco agreed to a point compliance regime, which consists of the following.

1. High level commitment. The Company will ensure that its senior management provides strong, explicit, and visible support and commitment to its corporate policy against violations of the anti-corruption laws and its compliance code.

2. Policies and Procedures. Tyco will promulgate compliance standards and procedures designed to reduce the prospect of violations of the anti-corruption laws and the Company’s compliance code, and the Company should take appropriate measures to encourage and support the observance of ethics and compliance standards and procedures against foreign bribery by personnel at all levels of the company. These anti-corruption standards and procedures shall apply to all directors, officers, and employees and, where necessary and appropriate, outside parties acting on behalf of the Company in a foreign jurisdiction, including but not limited to, agents and intermediaries, consultants, representatives, distributors, teaming partners, contractors and suppliers, consortia, and joint venture partners (collectively, “agents and business partners”), to the extent that agents and business partners may be employed under the Company’s corporate policy. The Company shall notify all employees that compliance with the standards and procedures is the duty of individuals at all levels of the company. Such standards and procedures shall include policies governing:

  1. gifts;
  2. hospitality, entertainment, and expenses;
  3. customer travel;
  4. political contributions;
  5. charitable donations and sponsorships;
  6. facilitation payments; and
  7. solicitation and extortion.

3. Internal Controls. Tyco will ensure that it has a system of financial and accounting procedures, including a system of internal controls, reasonably designed to ensure the maintenance of fair and accurate books, records, and accounts to ensure that they cannot be used for the purpose of foreign bribery or concealing such bribery. This system should be designed to provide reasonable assurance that:

  1. Transactions are executed in accordance with management’s general or specific authorization;
  2. Transactions are recorded to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with GAAP;
  3. Access to assets is permitted only in accordance with management’s general or specific authorization; and
  4. Recorded accountability for assets is compared with the existing assets at reasonable intervals and appropriate action is taken if discrepancies are found.

4. Periodic Risk-Based Reviews. Tyco agreed to develop these compliance standards and procedures, on the basis of a risk assessment addressing the individual circumstances of Tyco, in particular the foreign bribery risks it faces including, its geographical organization, interactions with various types and levels of government officials, industrial sectors of operation, involvement in joint venture arrangements, importance of licenses and permits in the company’s operations, degree of governmental oversight and inspection, and volume and importance of goods and personnel clearing through customs and immigration.

5. Proper Oversight and Independence. Tyco will (or once again has) assign responsibility to one or more senior corporate executives of the Company for the implementation and oversight of the Company’s anti-corruption policies, standards, and procedures. Such corporate official(s) shall have direct reporting obligations to the Tyco’s independent monitoring bodies, including internal audit, the Board of Directors, or any appropriate committee of the Board of Directors, and shall have an adequate level of autonomy from management as well as sufficient resources and authority to maintain such autonomy.

6. Training and Guidance.

  1. Training. Tyco will implement mechanisms designed to ensure that its anti-corruption policies, standards, and procedures are communicated effectively to all directors, officers, employees, and where appropriate, agents and business partners. These mechanisms shall include periodic training for all directors and officers, and, all employees in positions of leadership or trust or positions which might otherwise pose a risk of corruption to the company. The training shall also be provided to agents and business partners. Lastly there shall be biannual certifications by all such directors and officers, and, where necessary and appropriate, employees, agents, and business partners, certifying compliance with the training requirements.
  2. Guidance. Tyco is required to maintain an effective system for providing guidance and advice to directors, officers, employees, and, where necessary and appropriate, agents and business partners, on complying with Tyco’s anti-corruption compliance policies, standards, and procedures, including when they need advice on an urgent basis or in any foreign jurisdiction in which Tyco operates.

7. Internal Reporting and Investigation. Tyco will provide an effective system for internal and where possible, confidential reporting by, and protection of, directors, officers, employees, and, where necessary and appropriate, agents and business partners, concerning violations of the Company’s compliance program. Tyco also agreed to dedicate sufficient resources to respond to such requests and undertaking necessary and appropriate action in response to such reports.

8. Enforcement and Discipline. Tyco will institute appropriate disciplinary procedures to address, violations of the anti-corruption laws and the Company’s anti-corruption compliance code, policies, and procedures by the Company’s directors, officers, and employees. This shall include disciplining of those within the company no matter how the position of the person or their perceived authority. In addition to discipline, Tyco agrees to add appropriate mechanisms to incentivize compliant behavior.

9. Third Party Relationships. Tyco agreed to institute appropriate due diligence and compliance requirements pertaining to the retention and oversight of all agents and business partners, including: (a) properly documented risk-based due diligence pertaining to the hiring and appropriate and regular oversight of agents and business partners; (b) informing agents and business partners of the Company’s commitment to abiding by laws on the prohibitions against foreign bribery, and of the Company’s ethics and compliance standards and procedures and other measures for preventing and detecting such bribery; (c) seeking a reciprocal commitment from agents and business partners and (d) including appropriate compliance terms and conditions in the contract.

10. Mergers and Acquisitions. Tyco agreed to develop and implement appropriate compliance policies and procedures for any acquisition based upon an appropriate risk-analysis which would be completed as soon as practicable. Further such changes would be implemented as soon as practicable. Directors, officers and employees of newly acquired entities would be trained as soon as practicable.

11. Monitoring and Testing. Tyco agreed to conduct periodic review and testing of its anti-corruption compliance code, standards, and procedures designed to evaluate and improve their effectiveness in preventing and detecting violations of anti-corruption laws and the Company’s anti-corruption code, standards and procedures, taking into account relevant developments in the field and evolving international and industry standards.

So the prior 13 point best practices program is now folded down to 11 for Tyco. Nevertheless, the general concepts are still the same for a company seeking to implement or enhance its compliance solution. Much like Chris Economaki reporting from the Pits at the Indy 500, the level of detail provided in the Tyco NPA should allow the compliance practitioner to evaluate their company’s compliance program.

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The Wall Street Journal has a series of articles today on the FCPA. In conjunction with these articles I will join Joe Palazzolo, Law Blog lead writer, for a conversation on the FCPA at 2:30 PM EDT. We will take your questions. To join us, click here.

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This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2012

September 26, 2012

Tyco International – The Importance of the Books and Records under the FCPA

On Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) announced settlement with Tyco International (Tyco) for books and records violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Tyco agreed to a fine of $26MM for “at least twelve different, post-injunction illicit payment schemes occurring at Tyco subsidiaries across the globe. The schemes frequently entailed illicit payments to foreign officials that were inaccurately recorded so as to conceal the nature of the payments” and failure “to devise and maintain internal controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that all transactions were properly recorded in the company’s books, records, and accounts”. $10,564,992 of the fine was paid in disgorgement and an additional $2,566,517 in prejudgment interest was paid to the SEC and the remainder of $13.68MM was paid as fine to the DOJ. All of this was discovered because Tyco was already a FCPA violator, having admitted to violations back in 2006 and these additional violations were discovered as a part of a companywide review required under its 2006 Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA). Tyco received a Non-Prosecution Agreement (NPA) from the DOJ for this post-DPA conduct and I will discuss the NPA in a subsequent post.

While a large portion of the FCPA commentaratti focused on the damning email which read “”Hell, everyone knows you have to bribe somebody to do business in Turkey. Nevertheless, I’ll play it dumb”; another portion of the commentaratti seemed somewhat amazed that hiding bribery and corruption in a company’s books and records is a stand-alone violation of the FCPA.   As part of the 2006 settlement Tyco agreed to engage in a companywide review of its operations to determine if there was “anything else”. Not only did it turn out there was something else “rotten in Denmark” but this bribery and corruption continued after the first enforcement action. This companywide review determined that Tyco had engaged in “illicit payment schemes”; that these bribery schemes “were inaccurately recorded so as to conceal the nature of the payments” and Tyco “failed to devise and maintain internal controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that all transactions were properly recorded in the company’s books, records, and accounts.”

So with a nod to the final week of the baseball season we present the Tyco Bribery Box Score

Subsidiary Location

Bribe Amount Paid

Inaccurate Books and Records Description

Turkey Not reported Equipment sold at a mark-up over invoice price
China $3700 Commission to sales team
Germany Not reported Commission to sales team
France Not reported Commissions to agents for ‘business introductions’
China-different sub $483K Commissions to agent
Thailand $50K Renovation work
Malaysia Not reported Commissions to agents
Egypt $282K Disguised as inflated invoices from agent
Saudi Arabia Not reported Promotional expenses and sales development
Poland Not reported Bogus service contracts

What I find so interesting about all of this is that it occurred, in large part, after the 2006 DPA. As Bill Clinton might say, “It takes some brass” to initiate or continue a bribery scheme while you are under a DPA for FCPA violations. With the above in mind I was intrigued by an article in the Navigant Quarterly, 2012 Volume 1, Issue 13, entitled “If You Think You Are Done Looking…Keep Looking”, by Eileen Felson and Nicole Wrigley. In their article, the authors note that “every fraud has to be hidden somewhere on a company’s books. Most financial statement frauds grow in size, scope and duration.” The authors also talk about “collusive fraud” which is the situation where “fraudsters work together to manipulate the balance sheet and actually launder the fraud through various accounts.” It sounds like a description of the machinations folks must go through to hide corrupt payments while under a FCPA DPA. Although the authors specifically address frauds, their concepts are certainly broad enough to include bribery and corruption.

The authors detail several types of corrupt practices and end their article with some tips on investigation. They note that the “logical start-off point in conducting a forensic investigation of how a fraud was committed includes a detailed review of revenue and expense account activity.” But more importantly, a forensic examiner must keep looking. The reason for this is simply because if evidence of bribery or corruption is found in one area the entire scheme is revealed. Therefore a forensic examiner needs to review unrelated accounts to see if there are other indicia of corruption.

What does all of this mean for a compliance program? There is some very clear guidance for the role of Internal Audit in detecting bribery and corruption in a best practices FCPA compliance program. First and foremost, if there are any types of commission payments being made, Internal Audit needs to review the documentation supporting why such payments are being made. A review of contracts or other legal requirements which may obligate a company to make such payments should be a basic undertaking in any internal audit. After an internal auditor has determined if commission payments are legally authorized, the internal auditor should review evidence that such commission payments have been earned. In other words, is there any evidence in the company’s books and records that the person or entity performed the services which might have entitled them to such commission payments? And do not forget that another role for Internal Audit is to correctly classify payments so that the books and records of the company accurately reflect them as expenses.

The Tyco SEC Compliant is chocked full of information regarding what an internal auditor needs to look for in reviewing expenses charged by employees; commissions paid to employees; invoices by agents and other third party representatives and over-inflated sales contracts; all used to disguise corrupt payments. The sad fact, as noted by authors Felson and Wrigley, is that many corruption schemes are not “committed for personal gain (such as stealing cash) but for other incentives, such as continued employment/advancement, fear of delivering bad news to investors or an intimidating supervisor, or a desire to increase the value of performance-based bonuses.” While it is not clear why it took Tyco so long to uncover these ongoing acts of bribery and corruption or why Tyco employees continued to engage in conduct violative of the FCPA while under a DPA; I think that the Tyco example speaks to the need for an overall, comprehensive robust compliance program that focuses on all factors which led to the continued bribery and corruption in the company which was reported in the SEC Complaint.

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2012

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