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The swamp-draining, unemolumented, non-Russian puppet President of the United States of America thinks that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars Americans from bribing foreign officials, is a “ridiculous” and “horrible” law that prevents U.S. companies from competing abroad. He’s undoubtedly right about this, as the FCPA does seek to prevent those companies from doing whatever it takes to win business in foreign lands. But it also, you know, makes it as illegal for Americans to, you know, bribe government officials abroad as it is here.

Given his obvious incorruptibility, lack of avarice and immunity to flattery, we’re sure that latter consideration never even entered Donald Trump’s not-at-all addled and deteriorating brain when he issued his learned, considered and constructive criticism of the FCPA.

Likewise, Attorney General William Barr is clearly a dedicated and unbiased public-minded public servant, and not anything like a cheap partisan hack willing to do whatever it takes to appease his boss and ensure his continued personal unchallenged dominion over these dying and crumbling United States of America, so he definitely has tamped down on FCPA enforcement for totally legitimate reasons and not because the president had a hissy fit about it or anything.

However this completely appropriate, justifiable and lawful decision to go easy on Americans handing out bribes abroad to win business came about, one thing is clear: It’s good news for one unnamed U.S. money manager, and any other companies that ask Barr’s permission before offering inducements to overseas officials.

The investment adviser in 2017 sought to purchase assets from a subsidiary of a foreign investment bank that was majority-owned indirectly by a foreign government, according to the opinion letter. The U.S. company sought and received assistance from another subsidiary of the same investment bank in relation to the purchase, which was closed in February 2019.

The foreign subsidiary of the investment bank that provided various services during the two-year process sought a fee from the U.S. investment adviser after the purchase, and the U.S. company intended to pay about $237,500 for its work, including analytical and advisory tasks, according to the letter.

The Justice Department said in its opinion that the payment to the foreign subsidiary would be to a foreign government agency, not a foreign official, and didn’t reflect a corrupt intent to influence a foreign official. The Justice Department also said that the FCPA doesn’t prohibit payments to foreign governments or foreign government agencies.

Justice Department Issues Rare FCPA Opinion Letter [WSJ]



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