International Law and Immigration

Ca. Int'l Law Journal VOL. 23, NO. 1, SUMMER 2015

Attacking Corruption at its Source: The DOJ’s Recent Efforts to Prosecute Bribe-Taking Foreign Officials

By Miwa Shoda and Andrew G. Sullivan*


On February 9, 2015, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the conviction and nine-year prison sentence of Jean Rene Duperval on charges of accepting bribes while he served as the director of Haiti’s state-owned telecommunications company.1 This decision represents the latest development in a string of recent enforcement actions by the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") against bribe-taking foreign officials.2

Historically, the DOJ has not targeted this category of bad actors because the prosecutorial tool used to combat foreign bribery—the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA")—does not extend to the prosecution of foreign officials who solicit and accept bribes.3 However, the DOJ recently has changed course by side-stepping the FCPA and instead prosecuting these foreign officials under other laws,4 most commonly the Money Laundering Control Act5 ("MLCA") and related conspiracy charges.

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