Pepper partner Gregory A. Paw was quoted in the May 28, 2015 Corporate Counsel article, "Inhospitable Hospitality: BHP Billiton's $25M FCPA Fine." The article discusses the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charging global resources company BHP Billiton with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) when it sponsored the attendance of foreign government officials at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Mr. Paw commented on how the SEC cited BHP for the violations based on BHP's failure to properly execute its own compliance program.
“I think it is unusual,” Gregory Paw, a partner at Pepper Hamilton and a member of the firm’s white-collar litigation and investigations practice group, told CorpCounsel.com. “I think in some ways this is an expansion of what is expected under the books and records provisions. In a lot of ways it seems that what the SEC was concerned about was more the risk of corruption rather than the actual corruption itself.”
This lack of oversight at BHP points to problem that can easily happen in FCPA compliance and in other compliance areas. Having a policy and controls in place is one thing, but actually using these tools correctly is another thing entirely. “We always tell people your program can’t just be a paper tiger,” said Paw. “It has to be real.”