both slowly pursuing former executives of the
JV partners or other individuals.
None of this compares with the $800 million fine levied on Siemens by Germany. “Over
the last five years, Germany has been far more
serious about preventing corruption than any
country outside the U.S.,” says Yannett, who
led the Siemens internal investigation.
But European anticorruption cultures
are making strides, especially in the United
Kingdom. Former U.K. prosecutor Matthew
Cowie of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher &
Flom, who was not involved in the cases, offers
a provocative counterfactual scenario. He
argues that if Bonny Island were covered under
today’s U.K. Bribery Act, then the fines for Kellogg—a U.S.
business whose British unit was at the heart of the affair—
would be evenly balanced between the two nations.
In real life, the U.K. shipped Tesler and Chodan to the
U.S. for prosecution, but Cowie believes that if current law
applied, they would be prosecuted locally, because they
are U.K. citizens. “Would Tesler and Chodan be extradited
under today’s law?” he asks. “I think not.”
At the far end of the spectrum, there has been no appar-
ent action in Japan. Indeed, Japan is so far removed from
Western anticorruption culture that the Japanese trad-
ing company that allegedly served as the second cultural
adviser broached the idea of suing the JV for performance
While at Justice, Philip
Urofsky picked up the Bonny
Island case from the French.
of their corrupt contract while the investigations were well under way. “The Japanese
really don’t get it,” says an American lawyer.
While the U.S. salutes France for breaking
the case and Britain for shipping over the
bad guys, it regards itself as the main sheriff
in town until shown otherwise. “We don’t
lightly go after foreign companies,” says the
Justice Department’s Duross. “We did so
here only after concluding that none of the
other legal systems were going to prosecute
these companies, and we thought there was
significant deterrent value, as well as lateral
justice among the coconspirator companies.
That’s what this is all about.” Ex-prosecutor
America’s corruption cops see Bonny Island as a new
paradigm, in a way that Siemens could never be. “This case
is a model of what we see moving forward,” says Duross.
“We will go after U.S. companies and foreign companies.
We will go after U.S. citizens and foreign citizens. And we
will hunt down evidence when we need to do so.”
Seven penalties totaling $1.66 billion get that message
through loud and clear. ■
in central europe
home advantage in central europe. schoenherr is a leading corporate law firm with unmatched coverage in Central Europe. About 300
lawyers in 12 offices contribute their experience, knowledge, talent and know-how to bring clients innovative legal solutions. Providing a mix of
high-quality advice and effective, business-oriented solutions is at the heart of schoenherr‘s philosophy. www.schoenherr.eu