Just as the United States announced it had secured a guilty plea from Volkswagen for its emission-testing fraud through the installation of a defeat device, federal regulators have now turned their attention to Fiat Chrysler. According to reports, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued Fiat a “notice of violation” for installing and using software to allow certain vehicles to emit pollution beyond legal limits in the United States. Fiat has denied the charges with the CEO claiming the EPA is “grandstanding” by even announcing the charges. He went on to add “We have done nothing illegal.” For good measure he threw in that the EPA “think we all belong to a class of criminals.”
While it will be interesting to see how all this plays out, with a defiant CEO and a new presidential administration which appears to desire to rollback, if not eliminate the EPA entirely, The Man From FCPA sees this through the lens of the compliance practitioner and what they may take away from this imbroglio. It would seem intuitive the EPA would revisit all the manufacturers of deiseal automobiles in the wake of the VW scandal. One might reasonably conclude that Fiat and all other manufacturers of deiseal cars would be prepared for such EPA inquiry.
Every CCO should scour the news on a regular basis to determine if industry competitors are in the news for regulatory violations. This would also include regions where there are high instances of perceived corruption. Obviously China has been one country where a large number of FCPA enforcement were derived. Yet other countries and industries are beginning to bear more and greater scrutiny. Just as the Petrobras scandal shone a light on corruption in Brazil, it has now led to the largest global anti-corruption enforcement action ever in Odebrecht, with a fine range between $4.5 to $2.6bn. Any U.S. company that did business with Petrobras, Odebrecht, or in Brazil over the past 10 years should be scrutinizing its books and records so that it may not find itself in the position of Fiat.