• Government Contracting Requires More Than “Truthiness”

    In homage to Stephen Colbert, we want to discuss the July 2, 2013 false claims act settlement by CyTerra, under which they paid $1.9 million.  As the Department of Justice’s press release stated, “Contractors who negotiate with the government must be scrupulous in their dealings with the government … Government contractors should be on notice […]

  • India’s Whistleblower Protection Act: Progress or Pandering?

    2014 was a very exciting time for the Indian economy: with the world’s second-largest workforce, low wages, a burgeoning number of well-educated and tech savvy young people, and an ostensibly populist government committed to economic growth, India is much like the China of the late 20th century — one of the premiere destinations for global […]

  • Yara International: This Fertilizer Giant Reeks Of Corruption

    Yara International, a Norwegian based fertilizer company was found guilty in January 2014 of corruption charges from deals in Libya, India and Russia. Yara is the global leader in fertilizer production, with $14 billion in revenue in 2012. The company was ordered to pay $48 million in fines to the Norwegian government- the largest corporate […]

  • FCPA Settlement: Tyco International, Once Again

    In September of 2012, Tyco International agreed to pay more than $26 million in penalties to settle charges from the US Department of Justice and Securities Exchange Commission of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Between 2000 and 2008, numerous Tyco subsidiaries around the world paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to […]

  • FCPA Settlement: Oracle’s Appearance Of Impropriety

    In August of 2012, Oracle settled charges of civil violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with the SEC for $2 million. According to the SEC press release: The SEC alleges that certain employees of the India subsidiary of the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based enterprise systems firm structured transactions with India’s government on more than a […]

  • FCPA & Bribery: Travel Expenses Neither “Reasonable” Nor “Bona Fide”

    Travel expenditures have long been, and continue to be, a popular way of facilitating bribes. First, the travel accommodations themselves can function as a bribe- flying foreign officials first class to exotic destinations and pampering them with luxury hotels, meals, and so forth. Second, the travel expense accounts can be exaggerated and kicked back to […]

  • The FCPA & Facilitating Payments

    In a number of our articles on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), we have touched on several exemptions and “affirmative defenses” in the law. (An affirmative defense is a defense where the defendant proves a set facts that mitigate or excuse otherwise unlawful behavior.) The two affirmative defenses permitted by the FCPA are very […]

  • Dual Enforcement of the FCPA

    Enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is carried out by two agencies: the Department of Justice, and the Securities Exchange Commission. Though each agency is granted jurisdiction over different types of violations and different classes of persons and corporations, in practice the two agencies typically work in cooperation to further the interests of the […]

  • What Is A Trust?

    In discussing offshore tax havens, a term that frequently arises is trust.  In a legal context, a trust is a relationship where one party holds another party’s property.  The settlor turns over control of assets to a trustee, the individual(s) in charge of holding the assets.  The trustee is in charge of disbursing the property […]

  • What Is A Tax Haven?

    This fundamental question is difficult to answer succinctly because there is no legal definition nor a universally agreed-upon definition.  The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international organization created to promote trade and economic progress between democratic governments, has identified several key features which make a country a tax haven: “no or low […]

  • Tax Fraud: Let Us Count (Some Of) The Ways …

    The primary challenge posed by tax havens is the secrecy that obscures money once it has gone offshore. Most tax havens have strict secrecy laws that prohibit the disclosure of financial information to foreign parties. For example, if the IRS suspects you have undisclosed assets in a US account, they can easily get an order […]

  • Money Laundering 101

    One of the drawbacks of earning or spending money illicitly is that it is hard to use this money for legitimate purposes, except in small amounts. If I make a small amount of cash from selling drugs, I can spend this cash fairly freely. I can probably even deposit small amounts of it into my […]

  • History Of Tax Havens: Switzerland

    In our article Are Tax Havens Inherently Bad?, we briefly discussed some of the legitimate uses of tax havens and the ethical justifications for their existence. A tax haven with strict secrecy laws can serve as a safeguard of individual rights against an abusive or unstable state. This came to the forefront in Europe during […]

  • History Of Tax Havens: New Jersey’s Easy Incorporation Laws

    To better understand the current state of tax havens, and perhaps to predict in some way where they are headed in the future, it is helpful to look at the history of their development. While the term tax haven can be rather ambiguous, there are certain key features that underlie them: secrecy, low taxation, and […]

  • Are Tax Havens Inherently Bad?

    In short- no, not inherently. Tax havens are a tool. And like any tool, they can be used for legitimate purposes, or misused. The primary problem with tax havens is their most important, perhaps defining feature: secrecy and non-transparency. “Secrecy and non-transparency” certainly sounds a bit nefarious, however. We could just as easily use the […]

  • Birth Of The FCPA: This Bribery Is Positively Bananas

    Every so often we see on the news reports of heinously unethical behavior that conclude with an infuriating detail- the behavior, while clearly immoral, isn’t technically illegal. Citizens get up in arms and demand to know “how is this legal?!” To placate outraged constituents, legislators call Congressional hearings and hear experts testify on how best […]

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