When I asked the FBI earlier if its FCPA Unit still exists, I was told that FCPA investigations are now part of the International Corruption Unit’s (ICU) responsibilities, but there was no mention of the standalone FCPA Unit.
I followed up with FBI public affairs director Christopher Allen. He referred me to Lindsay Godwin, an FBI spokesperson in the Washington Field Office.
Godwin said the FBI has broadened the focus of the squad that used to target FCPA violations. These agents, she said, are now pursuing violations involving corporate fraud, antitrust matters and intellectual property rights, among others.
The agents who were part of the Washington, D.C.-based FCPA Unit are now working from an array of FBI regional field offices across the country, Godwin said, so they can pursue investigations situated in those areas. The FBI deemed that arrangement more effective, she said, because the agents wouldn’t have to travel for each investigation.
Does that mean the attention paid to FCPA cases has been diluted and resources compromised, with agents spreading their time among so many different types of investigations?
Godwin said that’s not the case. The FBI follows up on all potential violations referred to it by the DOJ or another FBI office, including FCPA cases.
She couldn’t comment on any cases the FBI has worked on or is working on now, or provide numbers of agents assigned to the ICU in Washington or elsewhere.
Both Christopher Allen and Lindsay Godwin have been responsive and courteous to the FCPA Blog’s queries, and they expressed confidence in the FBI’s ability to pursue FCPA investigations as they arise.
How will disbanding the FBI’s FCPA Unit impact enforcement? And why didn’t the agency alert the public about the change until now? We’ll talk about those issues and more in future posts.
Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog. She can be reached here.