Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Anti-Corruption LITIGATION/CONTROVERSY

WilmerHale has an award-winning team that has been involved in FCPA and related anti-corruption issues since the enactment of the statute and the government investigations that triggered its passage.

With more than 40 experienced anti-corruption lawyers, WilmerHale’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and Anti-Corruption Group offers extensive knowledge in all aspects of the field—government and internal investigations, risk assessments, M&A and strategic transactions, and ad hoc counseling. Our practice and approach to client service repeatedly earns recognition—most recently in April 2013 as the “Practice Group of the Year” by Main Justice and in June 2013 as an “FCPA Powerhouse” by Law360.

We have been involved in some of the most notable public cases, as well as numerous non-public cases and key developments related to FCPA and anti-corruption issues. From our offices in the United States, Europe and Asia, we regularly counsel more than 65 public and other companies and individuals domestically and abroad. We currently have approximately 25 FCPA matters pending with the Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or World Bank. Our lawyers regularly speak and write on anti-corruption matters and also have authored the leading treatise in the field. Complying with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is now in its 8th edition.


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Parker, Kimberly A.

Kimberly A. Parker

Co-Chair, Pro Bono and Community Service Committee

+1 202 663 6987 (t)


Our work in the FCPA arena spans a vast range of industries, including financial and professional services; energy, oil and gas; pharmaceutical, medical devices and health care; media; technology; defense and aerospace; and manufacturing. These are some examples, among many others, of recent significant FCPA matters we have handled or are handling:

  • We represented a US aircraft maintenance provider and its foreign parent in their 2012 settlements with the DOJ of FCPA issues relating to payments to government officials in Mexico and elsewhere. 
  • We represented Armor Holdings, now a subsidiary of BAE Systems, Inc., in its July 2011 FCPA settlement with the DOJ and SEC relating to the actions of a former employee of the company who later went on to become the informant in the DOJ’s 22-defendant FCPA sting case.
  • We represent several financial institutions in connection with the SEC’s “sweep” relating to interactions by financial institutions with sovereign wealth funds, and a number of oil companies in connection with the SEC’s “sweep” relating to business dealings in Libya.
  • We represented the former chief executive officer of a public company in an investigation by the DOJ and SEC of violations of the FCPA and US sanctions laws.
  • We represented oil driller Helmerich & Payne in its July 2009 settlement with the DOJ and the SEC of FCPA matters involving payments to customs officials in Argentina and Venezuela.
  • We currently are, and have been in the past, involved in dozens of internal investigations and investigations conducted by the DOJ, SEC and other authorities. Some of these matters involve voluntary disclosures to the government, while others do not. We have obtained several declinations of prosecution from the enforcement authorities for our clients.
  • We have recently advised—and continue to advise—companies in connection with mergers and acquisitions and other strategic transactions, including the conduct and evaluation of pre-transaction due diligence and the implementation of post-transaction compliance programs for acquired and affiliated entities.
  • We have assisted clients in successfully obtaining DOJ clearance under the FCPA’s advisory opinion program.
  • We have assisted dozens of companies in conducting anti-corruption risk assessments and other compliance reviews and audits and have helped to design and implement dozens of compliance programs.


WilmerHale’s FCPA and anti-corruption practice, as well as its individual attorneys, are routinely recognized as leaders in the field.

  • WilmerHale was named one of 10 “FCPA Powerhouse” firms nationwide by Law360 in 2013.
  • Main Justice presented WilmerHale with its “Practice Group of the Year” award, its most prestigious honor, identifying the firm’s FCPA and Anti-Corruption Practice as the best in 2012. In addition, Main Justice also honored Senior Counsel Roger Witten with its “Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Master” award.
  • Senior Counsel Roger Witten and Partner Kimberly Parker were individually recognized as “FCPA Experts” in the 2013 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers in Business.
  • Senior Counsel Roger Witten has received numerous individual accolades, including being named one of the “Best FCPA Lawyers Outside the Beltway” by Main Justice; recognized as an FCPA expert in the 2012 and 2013 editions of Chambers Global, and continuously selected as a “New York Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers.
  • Partner Jay Holtmeier and Senior Counsel Roger Witten were individually recognized among the 2013 Best Lawyers in America for their work in the criminal defense: white-collar field.
  • Partner Kimberly Parker was named one of the 45 leading women lawyers under 45 years of age in the January 2011 issue of The American Lawyer.


In connection with their ongoing work at the forefront of issues relating to the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other anti-corruption laws, WilmerHale Senior Counsel Roger Witten and Partners Kimberly Parker and Jay Holtmeier recently published the 8th edition of Complying with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The treatise serves as an up-to-date resource for those seeking to navigate their way through the requirements of the FCPA and other similar laws in an environment of active enforcement by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as other law enforcement authorities around the world. Among other things, the recent edition focuses on guidance published by the DOJ and SEC in November 2012.

Lawyers in the firm began producing the treatise long before the FCPA became well known, and the treatise has become even more useful as enforcement efforts (and corresponding compliance efforts) have skyrocketed in the last decade. The treatise serves as a guide to understanding the basics of the FCPA, many of the nuances in its interpretation and enforcement (particularly when decided cases by US courts are still rare), and fast-changing developments in the law. WilmerHale Partner Erin Sloane, Special Counsel Lillian Potter and Counsel Thomas Koffer and Saniya O’Brien, along with numerous others, also contributed to the new edition.

Complying with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is comprised of 13 substantive chapters and contains resource materials, statutes, advisory opinions, treaties and model forms for use in internal compliance programs, along with additional resources. Among the topics covered are the FCPA’s historical background; its anti-bribery and accounting provisions; issues relating to risks associated with the use of agents, joint ventures and other third parties; issues in mergers and acquisitions; hypothetical situations illustrating frequent real-world FCPA issues and strategies for responding to them; developments and trends in the enforcement arena; and key elements of an effective anti-corruption compliance program.

Complying with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is published by Matthew Bender & Company, a member of the LexisNexis Group.

Publications & News


February 28, 2013

February 2013 FCPA Judicial Decisions

February 2013 yielded two opinions from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York: SEC v. Straub, et al. and SEC v. Sharef, et al. While these decisions are mostly relevant to legal issues pertaining to individuals outside the United States, the decisions do add to the scant body of FCPA case law. In this alert, WilmerHale Partners Roger Witten, Kimberly Parker, and Jay Holtmeier discuss the key topics addressed in these opinions: the constitutional minimum contacts necessary for a court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant; whether foreign emails’ contact with servers in the United States satisfies the FCPA’s interstate commerce element; and the tolling of the statute of limitations while a defendant is physically outside the United States.

January 31, 2013

FCPA Year-in-Review: Developments of 2012 and Predictions for 2013 

The year 2012 witnessed several notable developments in the enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). In FCPA Year-in-Review: Developments of 2012 and Predictions for 2013, WilmerHale Partners Roger M. Witten, Kimberly A. Parker, and Jay Holtmeier discuss these developments, including: enforcement trends, the Department of Justice (DOJ)/Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Guidance, Morgan Stanley and compliance, and the first explicit reliance on the FCPA’s alternative jurisdiction provision to charge a U.S. company. These and other developments discussed in the alert illuminate the priorities of DOJ and the SEC, provide insight into likely future trends in settlements and judicial decisions, and serve as a road map for the government’s expectations regarding compliance programs and their implementation. Although 2012 saw a decline in the number of new cases publicly initiated by DOJ and the SEC, enforcement remains a stated priority: DOJ announced in 2012 that it had more than 150 open FCPA investigations and both DOJ and the SEC have signaled they will continue their aggressive prosecution of FCPA cases.

January 8, 2013

Lawyers Share Perspectives on Recent Court Opinions, Anti-Corruption Developments

In the January 2013 edition of the Financial Fraud Law Report, Partners Andrew Weissman and Douglas Davison and Counsel Benjamin Brown published an article entitled “String of Recent Circuit Court Opinions Impact SEC Enforcement Program.”

January 3, 2013

Perspectives on Recent Anti-Corruption Developments

An article by Roger M. Witten, Kimberly A. Parker, Jay Holtmeier and Thomas J. Koffer, published in the January 2013 edition of Financial Fraud Law Report.

November 19, 2012

DOJ and the SEC Issue Much-Anticipated FCPA Guidance

On November 14, 2012, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published their long-awaited joint guidance on the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), entitled A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the Guide). It is unprecedented in federal law enforcement that DOJ and the SEC have provided the public with such detailed information on their joint FCPA enforcement approach and priorities.

October 1, 2012

President Obama Issues Order Prohibiting Foreign Acquisition of US Company

On September 28, 2012, President Obama issued an order prohibiting a Chinese-owned company from acquiring four U.S. wind farm project companies. Although the U.S. government has not disclosed the national security issues raised by the transaction, the Treasury Department stated that the “wind farm sites are all within or in the vicinity of restricted air space at Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman in Oregon.” Parties considering foreign investment should not become unnecessarily alarmed about the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States ("CFIUS") review process in terms of bias against foreign investment or investments from particular countries based on this rare action. CFIUS reviews remain highly fact-dependent and parties to a transaction should broadly consider possible issues related to national security even if their business is not directly involved in defense or other national security work.

August 31, 2012

The 2013 Best Lawyers in America® List Includes 101 WilmerHale Lawyers

June 7, 2012

Chambers USA 2012 Final Results Announced

May 9, 2012

Recent Trends in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Sentencing

An article by Roger M. Witten, Kimberly A. Parker and Jay Holtmeier originally published by LexisNexis.

May 3, 2012

US and UK Regulators Provide Guidance on Anti-Corruption Controls

Current Developments