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美国司法部和证券交易管理委员会通常依靠公司自行调查海外贿赂

(2011-07-15 11:14:58)
标签:

证券交易委员会

司法部

海外贿赂

企业

法律

财经

分类: 社会关注

Justice Department, SEC investigations often rely on companies’ internal probes

美国司法部和证券交易管理委员会通常依靠公司自行调查海外贿赂

By David S. Hilzenrath, Published: May 23

As the U.S. government steps up investigations of companies suspected of paying bribes overseas, law enforcement officials are leaving much of the detective work to the very corporations under suspicion.

在美国政府加紧调查涉嫌海外贿赂的公司的时候,司法官员正将大量调查工作下放给被调查的涉嫌公司去执行。

The probes are so costly and wide-ranging that the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission often let the companies investigate themselves and then share the results.

这种调查成本极高涵盖范围非常广,因此司法部门和证券交易管理委员会(SEC)通常让这些公司进行自我调查并共享其结果。

The strategy is especially common in cases of foreign corruption but also extends to domestic investigations involving issues as varied as health-care fraud and shady accounting.

这种策略在涉及海外腐败的案件中特别常见,但也已经延伸到国内从医疗欺诈到秘密账户等不同领域的案件中。

The corporations, sometimes at the request of the government, hire teams of lawyers and accountants to interview employees, gather electronic records and sift through documents. The government reviews the results and decides whether further legwork is warranted — and, ultimately, whether to pursue charges.

通常情况下,涉嫌企业会应政府要求雇佣一个律师和会计师队伍来对雇员进行面询以收集电子记录和筛选文件。政府对结果进行检查并决定是否有开展进一步外勤工作的必要性以及最终是否要提起诉讼。

The private investigators help determine what evidence the government sees. They typically turn over only a small subset of the many documents they collect. Sometimes the lawyers who conduct the investigation are the same ones who represent the company in negotiations with the government over charges and penalties.

私人侦探也协同决定着政府究竟能看到什么样的证据。他们通常仅解封其搜集的大量文件中的很小一个子集。有时,主持面询的律师和代表该企业和政府就指控和处罚进行交涉的律师正是同一批人。

According to lawyers and accountants involved in internal investigations, current and former government officials, and records of cases in which internal probes have played a role, the practice is widespread.

据涉及到内部调查的律师和会计师、现任和前政府官员的说法以及涉及到这种内部侦查的案件显示,这种惯例非常普遍。

For the government, the approach is a way to save money and claim relatively easy victories, corporate lawyers say.

企业律师称,对于政府来说这是一种经济并且能相对容易地出成果的方法。

For the companies under investigation, it is a way to win credit for cooperating, which can translate into lesser charges or lighter penalties.

对于被调查的企业来说,这种方法可以取得政府对其配合行为的赞赏,而这种赞赏可以转化为更少的指控或更轻的处罚。

For the people who conduct the internal investigations — many of them former Justice and SEC employees — it is a big business. An ongoing investigation for Diebold, which makes ATMs, has cost the firm about $16 million, a company spokesman said. Avon has confirmed spending more than $130 million.

许多主导内部调查的人都曾是司法部门和SEC的前雇员,对于他们来说这是一项很不错的生意。据ATM制造企业Diebold的企业发言人表示,针对该企业一个内部调查正在进行中,迄今为止该企业已经为其花费了一千六百万美元。雅芳已经证实其花费在这种调查上的资金超过了一亿三千万美元。

And a global bribery probe performed for Siemens cost about $950 million, according to a company accounting. That was almost triple the $324 million annual budget of the SEC’s enforcement division when the case was resolved in December 2008.

根据某会计公司表示,一项针对西门子的全球贿赂调查的成本约为九亿五千万美元。此案件在200812月被结案,而此成本数额几乎是SEC执行部门三亿两千四百万当年年度预算的三倍。

Some companies launch internal probes after the government has begun an official investigation. That was the case with Daimler, the big automaker and former parent of Chrysler, which came under SEC scrutiny when a former employee told the government that Daimler was keeping secret accounts to bribe foreign officials. Daimler agreed to pay the government $185 million last year in a settlement that allowed it to avoid criminal prosecution.

一些企业在政府开始官方调查之后进行了内部侦查,戴姆勒就是这种情况。戴姆勒是一家大型汽车生产企业,也曾是克莱斯勒的母公司。一位戴姆勒前雇员向政府告发该企业设立了一个用于贿赂外国官员的秘密账户,SEC随之对戴姆勒进行了调查。戴姆勒在去年的一项避免其受到刑事检控的妥协协议中同意向政府支付一亿八千五百万美元

Other companies open internal investigations on their own initiative and essentially blow the whistle on themselves. That was the case with Johnson & Johnson, which settled bribery and other charges in April by agreeing to pay $70 million. As the Justice Department noted, the company was given credit for conducting a “thorough and wide-reaching self-investigation.”

其他一些公司则是主动进行内部调查并实际上进行自我检举,强生公司就属于这种情况。强生公司在四月份通过支付七千万美元解决了贿赂和其他指控。如司法部指出的那样,该公司因主持了一次“彻底而涉及面很广的自我调查”而被赞许。

The private investigation is “a very important tool that we use to leverage the resources we have to be as efficient and as effective as we can,” said Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division.

司法部刑事部门的负责人Lanny Breuer表示,非官方调查是“解决一个很重要的工具,我们利用这个工具来平衡我们所拥有的资源来尽可能地使工作高效率和高效能。”

Law enforcement officials say they don’t just take the company’s word. Asked how the government knows the company’s investigators are providing a complete and objective account, Breuer said, “Well, that’s why I have smart prosecutors to test and probe.”

司法官员称他们并不仅采用该涉嫌公司的材料。在被问及政府如何能保证涉嫌公司的调查人员所提供资料的完整性和客观性的时候,Breuer说:“这就是为什么我要派能干的检控官去进行检测和侦查。”

When government officials have confidence in an internal investigation, they may do little investigating of their own, lawyers involved in such cases say.

涉及此类案件的律师表示,当政府官员对内部调查持信任态度的时候,他们可能就很少自行调查了。

What prevents the internal investigators from airbrushing the facts or, say, omitting evidence that might implicate the chief executive?

究竟是什么令内部调查人员不会涂改事实,或者换句话说删掉那些可能会牵连到高层领导的证据?

“You mean other than integrity?” one former federal prosecutor replied. “Very little.” The former prosecutor, who now works on internal investigations, spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid having his comments used against him in future cases.

“你指的是除了良知之外?”一个前联邦检控官回应说,“几乎没有。”这个前检控官如今从事内部调查工作,他要求匿名以避免在将来的案件中他的言论会对他产生不利影响。

Siemens investigation

西门子的调查

In December 2008, the government accused Siemens of engaging in a systematic effort to win business by paying bribes. The company maintained “slush funds” at offshore banks and “cash desks” where employees “typically brought empty suitcases to fill,” according to a court filing.

2008年十二月,政府指控西门子涉及一桩有组织地试图通过行贿来赢得业务的案件。据一份法庭文件显示,该公司在海外银行设有“秘密基金”和“付款处”,其公司雇员“通常带空手提箱来装钱。”

The Justice Department cited $805.5 million of “corrupt payments to foreign officials.”

司法部称有八亿五百万美金被用于“向外国官员行贿”。

The allegations were based largely on an internal investigation that Siemens, an engineering company based in Germany, began in 2006 after German authorities raided company offices and employees’ homes. The U.S. government got involved because Siemens, which does extensive business in the United States, was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

此项指称很大程度上基于对西门子的调查。西门子是一家德国工程机械公司,在2006年德国政府突击搜查该公司办公室和雇员的家之后,此项调查开始。因为在美国有拓展业务的原因西门子公司在纽约证券交易所上市,因而美国政府也被牵连进来。

The company hired the New York-based law firm Debevoise & Plimpton to lead the internal probe, and Debevoise enlisted the accounting firm Deloitte &Touche, among other contractors.

该公司雇用了位于纽约的德普律师事务所来主导此次内部侦查,德普招募了德勤会计师事务所和其他的契约商共同参与此次内部侦查。

The U.S. government has cited the company’s investigation as a model.

美国政府已将此次调查作为典范加以引用。

According to court records, it was a vast undertaking spanning 34 countries, with private investigators conducting more than 1,750 interviews and gathering more than 100 million documents. They reviewed approximately 14 million of those documents and gave the Justice Department and the SEC a small subset, about 24,000, according to a Siemens tally.

根据法庭记录,此次范围极大的行动共涉及了34个国家,非官方的调查者共主持了超过1750次面询和搜集了超过一亿份文件。据西门子公司的一份记录显示,在这些文件中他们检查了约一千四百万份并向司法部和SEC提交了一个约为24000份文件的小子集。

The Justice Department and the SEC would not say how many documents their own staff reviewed or how many interviews they conducted, either in the Siemens case or in several others.

在西门子和别的案件中,司法部和SEC都没有说明他们自己人员检查文件和主持面询的数量。

In court, the government provided an example of how the Siemens probe worked, saying the Justice Department and the SEC identified people and subjects “for more extensive debriefings by Siemens.”

在法庭上,政府提供了展示西门子侦查运作的一个例子,称司法部和SEC为“西门子公司更进一步的调查报告”找到了人选和题目。

Siemens routinely provided English translations of its documents, the Justice Department said in a court filing, “thereby saving the Department very significant time and expense.”

西门子提供了例行的文件英文翻译版,司法部在一份法庭文件中称,“这为司法部节省了显著的时间和费用。”

German prosecutors were initially skeptical about the internal investigation, “mistrustful that a law firm hired by the company could be relied on to do a thorough job,” Siemens general counsel Peter Y. Solmssen said. But they agreed to go along with it.

德国检控官起初对这次内部调查持怀疑态度,“不相信一个被涉嫌公司雇用的法律公司能被指望来执行彻底的工作,”,西门子总顾问Peter Y. Solmssen称。但他们同意此项工作的继续开展。

In the end, the Justice Department credited Siemens with providing valuable assistance, including help tracing international transactions.

最后,司法部称赞西门子公司提供了有价值的协助,其中包括对追踪国际交易的协助。

“It was only through the extensive, worldwide investigative efforts of the internal investigators that these complex criminal activities were uncovered,” the Justice Department said in a 2008 court filing.

在一份2008年的法庭文件中司法部称,“只有通过内部调查人员全球性大范围的努力,这些复杂的犯罪活动才能被发现。”

Though Siemens could have been fined as much as $2.7 billion in the criminal prosecution, the Justice Department and SEC settled for a combined U.S. total of $800 million.

尽管西门子有可能在此刑事检控中被处于高达二十七亿美元的罚金,但司法部和SEC合并的最终结果是八亿美元。

The Justice Department has not prosecuted any of the company’s executives or employees for the violations.

司法部迄今为止并没有因此案件对该公司任何的领导人或雇员提起诉讼。

Based partly on Siemens’s cooperation in the case, the U.S. government decided that the firm could remain eligible for federal contracts, a priority for Siemens.

部分基于西门子在此案件中配合的原因,美国政府决定该企业可以保留联邦合同签约资格,这是给予西门子的一个优先权。

Few documents revealed

仅有很少的文件被披露

In 2009, when the California-based valve manufacturer Control Components Inc. pleaded guilty to charges that it paid bribes to win contracts, CCI’s British parent company, IMI, issued a news release saying that no current employees were prosecuted.

2009年,一家位于加利福尼亚的从事阀门制造的控制元件股份有限公司对一项行贿指控表示服罪,这项指控称此公司通过向其英国母公司行贿来获得合同。IMI集团发表了一项新闻声明,声明中称其目前的雇员中没有人受到起诉。

But several former executives were charged with crimes, and some of them have protested that the internal probe served to make them scapegoats while protecting the companies and current executives.

但其一些前主管人员受到了犯罪指控,他们中的一些人抗议称内部调查在保护公司和现任主管人员的时候将他们当成了替罪羊。

The CCI case shows how the reliance on internal investigations can leave the fairness and credibility of law enforcement open to question.

控制元件股份有限公司的案件表明对内部调查的依赖可能会给司法的公正性和可信度带来问题。

Several defendants said in a court filing that the indictment of the former executives “recites almost verbatim” findings from the internal investigation.

在一份法庭文件中一些被告人称对前主管人员的检控简直是在逐句重复内部调查中的发现。

To conduct that probe, IMI hired the law firm Steptoe & Johnson, which in turn enlisted the accounting firm Ernst & Young.

为了主持此次侦查,IMI雇用了斯德普特&约翰逊律师事务所,而此律师事务所又招募了安永会计师事务所。

While the internal investigation gathered more than 5.5 million pages of documents, Steptoe turned over fewer than 1 percent of them to the government, the defendants said, complaining that the limited disclosure stacked the deck in favor of the companies and against the former executives.

被告人称,此次内部调查搜集的文件数量超过了五百五十万页,但斯德普特仅向政府提交了其中不足百分之一。被告人抱怨称这些堆满桌子的被限定的披露文件有利于公司而不利于前主管人员。

“The government apparently relied primarily on the 42,000 pages handpicked by IMI and CCI in tailoring its investigation and securing the Indictment against Defendants,” they argued in a court filing.

他们在一份法庭文件中争辩称,“政府明显主要依靠这42000页被IMI和控制元件股份有限公司精心挑选的文件来规划其调查和确保针对被告人的起诉。”

The former executives contended that other documents might help prove their innocence. They asked a judge to force the Justice Department to get them those documents.

这些前主管人员声称另外的文件可能有助于证明他们的无辜。他们要求一个法官给司法部施加压力来为他们获取这些文件。

IMI and CCI opposed that request. In court papers, they said they gave the government all the documents that were relevant. They said many were protected from wider disclosure by attorney-client privilege.

IMI和控制元件股份有限公司反对这种要求。在法庭文件中,他们称已经向政府递交了所有相关文件。他们称根据律师和当事人之间的信息披露豁免权,许多文件不能做更深一步的披露。

The companies said in a court filing that Steptoe not only conducted the internal investigation but also represented them and negotiated CCI’s plea deal. That included securing the Justice Department’s agreement not to prosecute the parent company based on any information the companies provided, Steptoe lawyer Brian M. Heberlig told the court.

在一份法庭文件中IMI控制元件公司斯德普特不仅主持了内部调查,而且还作为公司代理人就控制元件公司的申辩事宜进行了谈判。斯德普特事务所的Brian M. Heberlig律师告诉法庭这些事宜中包括这一项:在公司提供的所有信息的基础上确保司法部同意不起诉母公司。

In the battle over the records, the judge sided with the government and the companies.

在这些记录中发生的案件中,法官支持的是政府和公司。

A spokesman for IMI declined to comment for this story.

IMI的一位发言人拒绝对此报道发表评论。

Probes overseas

海外侦查

Robert Khuzami, the SEC’s director of enforcement, said there are instances in which the SEC does the investigation on its own.

SEC执行部门的主管Robert Khuzami表示存在SEC自行调查的例子。

Other times, “you permit the company to conduct an internal investigation and provide you with the results,” Khuzami said in an interview. “And we test and probe and verify to see whether or not that investigation is thorough and independent.”

Khuzami在一次访谈中表示,其他的时候“允许公司自己进行内部调查并递交其结果。”“我们对结果进行检测并查证其调查是否彻底和具有独立性。”

The government is especially likely to rely on internal probes in cases involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits companies from paying bribes to win business abroad. Those crimes almost by definition take place overseas, where culture, language and distance are just some of the many obstacles federal investigators would confront.

在涉及到反国外行贿法案的时候,政府特别倾向于依赖内部侦查。此法案禁止公司向海外行贿以获得业务。按照定义,这些犯罪行为几乎均发生在海外,进行联邦调查将会面对文化、语言和距离等诸多障碍。

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a major business group, has said the government’s heightened enforcement of the FCPA includes “the effective outsourcing of investigations by the government to the private sector.”

作为大型商业团体的美国商会已表示政府对反国外行贿法案执行力度的强化包括“政府向私营企业进行高效能的调查外包”

In a recent proposal explaining how it plans to act on tips from corporate insiders and other whistleblowers, the SEC said that, “in appropriate cases . . . our staff will, upon receiving a whistleblower complaint, contact a company, describe the nature of the allegations, and give the company an opportunity to investigate the matter and report back.”

在最近一份解释其如何计划应对企业内部人士和其他检举者的提案中,SEC称,“在合适的案件中,接到检举后我们的人员将联系某公司并向其介绍此指称的性质内容。我们的人将给该公司一个机会来对此进行调查并反馈报告。”

“This has been the approach of the Enforcement staff in the past, and the Commission expects that it will continue in the future,” the agency said.

此机构称,“迄今为止,这是执行人员在过去采取的方法;SEC期望这种方法在未来继续发挥作用。”

Lawyers involved in internal investigations say that if the government trusts them and has confidence in the way they have approached the task, it may proceed on the basis of their information instead of re-plowing the same ground.

涉及内部调查的律师表示,如果政府信任他们并对他们处理事务的方式抱有信心,工作将可能会基于他们提供的信息而进展而不需进行重复性工作。

“If the SEC does bring charges, it will oftentimes be based on the work the company did itself,” said Susan Muck, a lawyer at Fenwick & West who specializes in internal FCPA investigations. There are many instances in which, at the end of its review, the SEC decides not to bring charges, she added.

“即使SEC提起诉讼,此诉讼也通常基于公司调查工作的结果,” 芬威克韦斯特事务所一位反国外行贿法案调查领域的律师表示。她补充说,在许多例子中,检查结束时SEC决定不提起诉讼。

Muck said lawyers conducting internal investigations have a good reason not to withhold smoking-gun evidence: They can’t be sure the government wouldn’t obtain it elsewhere.

Muck称主持内部调查的律师有一个很好的理由不去掩藏确凿证据:他们不能确定政府是否会从其他地方获取这些证据。

Nonetheless, some companies are determined to protect themselves from shareholder lawsuits and to shield key executives, and those objectives can influence the internal investigation, at least subtly, lawyers said.

但律师表示,某些公司决心在股东诉讼中保护自己以及为主要领导人提供庇护,这种态度和决定至少会对内部调查产生微妙的影响。

A former government official said he and his colleagues have been asked to help conduct investigations for companies that stated they were looking for someone to exonerate them. The former official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of deference to colleagues, said he has turned down those requests.

一位前政府官员称他和他的同时曾被公司邀请协助主持调查,这些公司表示他们在寻找可以证明其无罪的人选。这位前政府官员出于对同事的尊重而要求保持匿名,他声称自己拒绝了这些邀请。

Lawyer Nathan J. Muyskens of the firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon said internal investigations cannot be a complete substitute for federal probes.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon律师事务所的律师Nathan J. Muyskens称内部调查不能完全取代联邦侦查。

“I can’t issue grand jury subpoenas. I can’t compel witnesses to testify truthfully in front of me. And, frankly, I can’t get documents from third parties,” such as the alleged recipients of bribes, he said.

“我不能发大陪审团传票。我不能强迫证人在我面前如实作证。而且很坦率地说我也不能从第三方(比如被指称的贿赂接受者)那里获得文件,”他表示。

“The government is often far better situated to collect evidence,” he said.

他表示,“通常情况下,政府的位置更适于收集证据。”

 

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