If you have done business in Saudi Arabia or with wealthy Saudis over the past few years, now might be a very good time to review not only those business relationships, but also your FCPA compliance program. Since November, the current Saudi Arabian government has had billions of dollars transferred to it by very wealthy, connected Saudi businessmen through hook, nook, crook, and perhaps a fair amount of coercion.
A recent report detailed some of the events around the detention of wealthy Saudis back in November, led by the new Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). It may have all been an internal royal family feud, but the wider effect has been a transfer of over $100 billion worth of goods and property from the detained individuals back to the Saudi government.
What does all this mean for any U.S. company that may have been doing business with any of those detained? First and foremost, any work you did with what you thought may have been a private entity is now a relationship with a foreign government or state-owned enterprise. If you were not using your full compliance program in all facets of your business relationship, you had better start right now in doing so. This is not limited to the physical Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but rather any company that was owned by a former detainee that may have been transferred.
You also need to fully scrub all your business relationships, internal controls, and dealings with those who were formerly held, or with those who may have transferred control and/or ownership to the current Saudi government. It could well be that if the current government believes those detained were taking bribes, it will prosecute whomever it can get its hands on whomever may have paid those bribes. It may also be that the government will turn that information over to U.S. prosecutors.
The time for your internal investigation is clearly now, not later.