The Department of Justice (DOJ) published its first declination regarding a company’s apparent violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) since putting forward new guidance on the value of voluntary self-disclosure to the agency.
Legal representatives of Pennsylvania-based Corsa Coal Corp. were notified March 8 the coal mining company would not face prosecution for alleged bribes employees paid to Egypt’s Al Nasr Company for Coke and Chemicals to secure coal supply contracts. The DOJ said Corsa paid approximately $4.8 million to an Egypt-based third party that its employees knew would be used to bribe Egyptian government officials, including the chairman of Al Nasr.
The scheme occurred from 2016-20, according to the DOJ, and earned Corsa approximately $32.7 million in profits.
The details of the alleged misconduct match the information provided by the DOJ in its March 2022 arrest of a former vice president at an unnamed coal company in Pennsylvania for violating the FCPA by bribing Egyptian government officials to earn Al Nasr contracts. That case remains ongoing.
The DOJ determined Corsa to be worthy of declination based on its “full and proactive” cooperation regarding the matter. The company voluntarily self-disclosed the alleged misconduct to the agency, provided information about individuals involved in the scheme, terminated a sales representative found to have been involved, improved its compliance program and internal controls, and agreed to disgorge $1.2 million in ill-gotten gains.
Corsa proved it was incapable of disgorging the full $32.7 million in alleged profits; an independent forensic accounting expert retained by the government concluded anything more than the $1.2 million total would “substantially threaten the continued viability of the company,” the DOJ noted.
Corsa must also continue to cooperate with the DOJ’s ongoing investigation, which will likely focus on individuals believed to have taken part in the alleged misconduct. Individuals are not protected against prosecution based on the findings of a DOJ declination.
Corsa acknowledged the agency’s decision in a press release, adding its disgorgement is payable in two equal installments: one immediately and one in three months.
Last month, the DOJ codified a new policy regarding the voluntary self-disclosure of corporate misconduct. The policy provides companies with greater incentives to voluntarily self-disclose, including the increased chance to receive a declination. A key driver behind the DOJ’s changes is the agency’s desire to ensure individual accountability for misconduct.