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Harry Cassin
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Andy Spalding
Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman
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Bill Steinman
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Richard L. Cassin
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Elizabeth K. Spahn
Editor Emeritus

Cody Worthington
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Julie DiMauro
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Thomas Fox
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Marc Alain Bohn
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Bill Waite
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Shruti J. Shah
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Russell A. Stamets
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Richard Bistrong
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Eric Carlson
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Larry Nassar and the Anti-Corruption Olympics

The victim impact statements in the Larry Nassar sentencing hearing were gut-wrenching and horrific. They were also a plea for compliance.

Listen, as my Corporate Compliance students did, to the Aly Raisman statement while holding a copy of the Fraud Section’s Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs (pdf) in your hand. Her vocabulary is slightly different, but the themes are seemingly pulled straight from the DOJ’s document: conduct at the top; lack of a shared commitment; failure to properly design policies and procedures; the need for risk-based training; the need for more effective reporting mechanisms; accountability.

And she tacitly asks for a root cause analysis at the level of the United States Olympic Committee.

It’s almost more than one can take, with the 2018 Winter Olympics now just days away. Arguably these Games are embroiled in more anti-corruption enforcement actions than any in history: Russian doping; Brazilian bribing; corrupt favors in South Korea; and now, the systematic abuse of a doctor’s entrusted authority for a most despicable private pleasure.

But notice: these are not just allegations, or rumors in the press. These are credible enforcement actions, each of which has or almost certainly will result in formidable punitive measures with real deterrent impact.

Look again. Russia has engaged in what may be the most systematic, state-sponsored doping regimen since East Germany’s of almost half a century ago. And the IOC Executive Board has handed down the most severe doping penalty in Olympic history:  prohibiting Russian athletes from competing under the Russian flag; banning the former Russian sports minister for life; sanctioning a number of other officials; and suspending the Russian Olympic Committee.

Yes, Brazil appears to have written yet another chapter in the decades-old story of buying IOC votes with bribes. But we also see a joint enforcement action by the governments in Brazil, the United States, and France, a powerful symbol in this new era of coordinated multi-jurisdictional anti-corruption enforcement.

In South Korea, revelations of bribery and improper influence abound. But these have resulted in the impeachment of their sitting president; the conviction of the head of Samsung, the country’s flagship corporation; and enforcement actions against multiple other entities and individuals. A powerful cultural and legal transformation seems to be taking root in this Olympic host country.

And Nassar is going to prison. Nor will he be the only person, natural or legal, held accountable for what occurred.

These aren’t mere corruption scandals. They are anti-corruption enforcement actions. They’re part of an historic world moment — one the readers of the FCPA Blog are all living through — when preventative and punitive measures are put in place with newfound rigor and conviction.


In a series of posts over the next few weeks, we’ll explore the implications of these Olympic Games for the global anti-corruption movement. At the University of Richmond School of Law, we’re engaged in a several-year research project on this very topic. See our website. And stay tuned.


Andy Spalding is a lecturer at the International Anti-Corruption Academy, Professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, and Senior Editor of the FCPA Blog.

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