In What Circumstances Can Foreign Nationals Be Held Liable for Violating The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?

February 25, 2013

In the last two weeks, in two separate SEC enforcement actions, judges in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued rulings addressing when the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) can bring enforcement actions against foreign nationals in cases involving bribes paid in foreign countries. In one case, the Court held that the SEC could proceed; in the other, the Court dismissed the case. These cases are of great interest not only because they explain the limits of the SEC’s jurisdiction, but they also set forth unexpected incidents of that jurisdiction, such as a potentially unlimited statute of limitations period for foreign nationals who never enter the United States.

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