We reported on Monday that the DOJ had announced a $30 million settlement with a vice president of Equatorial Guinea under its Kleptocracy Initiative. I hope the world noticed the noble and sensible purposes to which DOJ is putting these funds.
Our enforcement agencies have recognized an important truth: the victims of these crimes are overseas, and the money should accrue directly to their benefit. As the press release states, the U.S. Government is using “the proceeds of large-scale foreign official corruption . . . for the people harmed by the abuse of office.”
Great idea. Logically tight. Morally sound. And of course, completely legal under current federal law.
Accordingly, $20 million of the settlement will be given directly to a charitable organization in Equatorial Guinea. The remaining $10 million will be forfeited to the U.S., to be “used for the benefit of the people of Equatorial Guinea.”
Imagine how much good that money can do in that community. It’s breathtaking.
And the U.S. Treasury isn’t going to miss it. I’m pretty sure about that.
So let’s give the DOJ the credit it deserves for putting into practice it’s bold and important claim:
“We are committed to seeking justice for the often impoverished victims.”
Andy Spalding is a senior editor of the FCPA Blog. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Richmond School of Law.