Bill Steinman | Contributing Editor
William Steinman has been providing advice to multinational companies regarding the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws for over nineteen years, and is considered to be one of the leading FCPA lawyers in the United States.
Prior to the establishment of Steinman & Rodgers, Bill was the head of the international practice group at a major U.S. law firm.
Bill’s practice focuses primarily on FCPA issues in the defense and aerospace and food industries, and he is considered an authority on the engagement of overseas sales representatives, consultants, distributors/resellers and logistics services providers.
He is also frequently called upon to assist clients with respect to internal investigations and compliance reviews. In addition to his work in the anti-corruption field, Bill regularly advises clients in the negotiation and fulfillment of foreign offset requirements, including compliance with the Feingold Amendment. He has also represented foreign sovereigns in West Africa and the Caribbean Basin regarding anti-corruption and development matters.
Bill is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School, teaching a course on international negotiation, and is a regular lecturer on FCPA matters at national conferences, international fora and in-house training programs. He previously served as Vice Chair of the ABA International Section’s Aerospace and Defense Industries Committee. Between 2003 and 2007, he served on the Board of Directors of TRACE International, a leading non-profit association that specializes in promoting anti-corruption compliance in international business.
Bill Steinman received his J.D. from the Harvard Law School in 1993, and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Vermont in 1990.
In this era of heightened FCPA enforcement, it is easy to assume that a red flag signals the end of a relationship with a business intermediary. By my count, 11 of the last 17 FCPA enforcement actions involved bribes funneled to foreign officials through third parties.
Federal court opinions interpreting the FCPA are rare indeed — my informal tally puts the number at a dozen or so since 1977. This week, that number increased by one, thanks to the 9th Circuit’s opinion in Wadler v. Bio-Rad Laboratories, which grows out of Bio-Rad’s $55 million FCPA settlement in 2014.
The SEC reminded foreign issuers on December 10 that accounting misdeeds not only constitute securities fraud, they can violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
I see it time and time again — third parties that would otherwise pass muster under a client’s due diligence process create their own red flags.
Last week the Department of Justice reminded us that the FCPA remains a force to be reckoned with. And for the second time in as many years, I’ve taken to my keyboard to remind the world that, despite so many hopes and predictions, FCPA enforcement is not dead.
Your company has just won a major contract with a foreign government, and before you can even break out the champagne, your customer instructs you to engage a specific local subcontractor. Don’t worry — it might not be ideal that your customer is telling you who to work with, but it’s not always a show stopper.
FCPA practitioners welcomed Rod Rosenstein’s announcement that the Department of Justice has made the FCPA Pilot Program permanent, and incorporated it into the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual. In the words of one of my colleagues, the audience “noticeably lightened up” at the Deputy AG’s news.
When Jimmy Carter signed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act into law in December 1977, it couldn’t have been further from my mind. Had it entered my consciousness at all — which it likely didn’t — it would have been crowded out by Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca and Darth Vader.
Lawyers: As a group, we think we’re pretty special. Servants of the law and all that. But in truth, there’s really only one thing that sets us apart from other professionals: the attorney-client privilege (yes, yes, we can also represent others in court, but that’s not the point of this post).
There are no two ways about it. Indirect offset transactions are burdensome.