Trial, White Collar & Investigations Partner Jacqueline Wolff was quoted in the Anti-Corruption Report on a recent Fifth Circuit decision in United States v. Rafoi Bleuler regarding the extraterritorial reach of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) over foreign nationals.
The article explained how two foreign nationals were charged in a bribery scheme involving Venezuelan officials. One of the two foreign nationals—a bank officer—had opened bank accounts that were used by others in support of the scheme. The bank officer did not visit the United States in connection with these services. While the district court originally decided that the FCPA did not apply extraterritorially to the bank officer, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and reversed the dismissal of charges, holding that the foreign national could be viewed as acting as an agent of the accountholder engaged in the bribery.
In particular, Wolff pointed out that this decision seemed contrary to a ruling from another Circuit from 2018 which also looked at the FCPA’s limitations over foreign nationals as agents, United States v. Hoskins. “Whereas the Second Circuit in the Hoskins case put the brakes on government overreach in FCPA prosecutions of foreign individuals, the Fifth Circuit decision in Rafoi Bleuler may fuel such overreach,” she said. “With Hoskins, Firtash and now this case, it may be time for the Supreme Court to weigh in on what being an ‘agent’ means under the FCPA,” she added.
Anti-Corruption Report subscribers can read the full article here.