In 2016, the question of what was meant by the term in the FCPA “anything of value” was soundly settled. From the February VimpelCom resolution to the “Sons and Daughters” hiring cases of Qualcomm and JPMorgan Chase, regulators pushed the meaning of the term “anything of value” to literally just that: “anything.” In VimpelCom, the SEC alleged that the company violated the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions by donating approximately $500,000 to the foreign official’s charities, even if none of the money benefited the foreign official ,who otherwise received remuneration. There was no evidence, however, this benefited the foreign official involved.
Even more striking were the Qualcomm and JPMorgan Chase hiring cases. They joined the Bank of New York Mellon from 2015 as the three FCPA enforcement actions involved in the hiring of family members of foreign officials or employees of state-owned enterprises. The benefit in each case was the hiring of a family member, but no benefit was provided directly to the foreign official. In both cases there was evidence presented that the sons and daughters who were hired did not meet the companies’ hiring standards. Of course in the case of JPMorgan Chase, a scandalous spreadsheet tied the hires to specific pieces of business that the bank had in place or was pursuing. In Qualcomm, a loan to the son of a foreign official was deemed to be “anything of value” to his father for FCPA purposes.
In 2017 this trend not only continued, but moved across the pond to the United Kingdom in the recent Rolls-Royce global anti-corruption enforcement action. One piece of bribery evidence that caught the eye of The Man From FCPA was the $3.2 million credit paid to a business owned by an investment group set up by the president of the customer for Rolls-Royce engines AirAsia. It is noteworthy that the company purchasing the engines did not receive the credit; instead it went to a company set up by the customer’s chief executive.
It appears that under the U.K. Bribery Act the term “anything of value” really does mean just that anything.