General Cable Pays $75 Million to Settle Wide-Ranging Bribery Scheme – Kate Hamann Quoted in FCPA Report

Pierce Atwood litigation partner Kathleen Hamann, who has extensive experience in government investigations and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), discusses General Cable’s recent settlement in its long-term bribery scheme. The bribery scheme centered around the use of third-party agents by General Cable’s foreign subsidiaries to pay employees of state-owned entities in Angola, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Egypt to obtain or retain business with those entities.

While GCC was forced to pay penalties and fines, Kate Hamann notes that the enforcement action made no mention of international cooperation, “because if [GCC] does have exposure in the other countries involved, those countries, may, on the basis of what has been made public by the U.S., decide to investigate.” She also notes that the simultaneous timing of the settlement announcement and the company’s press release could indicate that the matter is done. “The language that indicates that the investigation is ongoing in the press release that you usually see is missing; and the press release used the past tense ‘investigated’ instead of the present tense. So, it looks like it is done and dusted.”

In the wake of the investigation, FCPAR reports that GCC made “wide-ranging changes to its governance, replaced its executive management, and terminated 47 third-party relationships” among other personnel changes. Asked whether these changes were extreme, Kate noted that it’s often difficult to tell. “It’s not only about whether the employee participated in the misconduct, but also whether the employee was willfully blind to the misconduct, and whether the employee filled the role the way the company expected him or her to. When there is this kind of lengthy misconduct – 13 years in this case – a company has to take a hard look at some people if it happened on their watch.”

The complete article appeared in the January 18, 2017 edition of FCPA Report.