Bruce Searby became a trial attorney in the criminal division fraud section's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit in May 2016, rejoining the Justice Department after five years in private practice.
He left the unit in December 2017 to set up his own boutique firm.
Searby came to the FCPA unit as part of a major recruitment drive announced by Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell in November 2015. The funding for his position, however, isn’t permanent: it comes at least in part from the department’s Three Percent Fund – money made temporarily available from collected corporate fines.
Before rejoining the department, Searby worked as counsel for Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison in the firm’s white-collar crime and regulatory defence practice group from 2011.
At Paul Weiss, Searby specialised in FCPA matters. With former FCPA unit head Mark Mendelsohn, he conducted an internal investigation for Sony Pictures Entertainment after the company was caught up in a sweep by the US Securities and Exchange Commission of the movie industry’s dealings in China. Details from the Paul Weiss internal investigation later became public when a trove of hacked emails was released on the internet by WikiLeaks.
Between 2002 and 2011, Searby served as an assistant US attorney in Los Angeles, where he co-led the prosecution of married Hollywood film producers Gerald and Patricia Green, in the first FCPA case involving the media and entertainment industry.
The Greens were charged with paying US$1.8 million in bribes to a Thai tourism official and her daughter in exchange for a contract to manage the country’s annual film festival. After a two-and-a-half-week trial in 2009, Searby and then-senior trial attorney Jonathan Lopez of the criminal division’s fraud section secured a conviction on all but two of 21 counts. A judge later sentenced the Greens to six months in prison and six months home detention.
The prosecution also led to the indictment of the former Thai official, Juthamas Siriwan, and her daughter, Jittisopa Siriwan, on money laundering charges. The case in the US remains stayed while the Siriwans face corruption, bribery and bid-rigging charges in Thailand.