Mark Mendelsohn, now with Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, led the Foreign Corrupt Practices unit in the criminal division between 2004 and 2010 – the period in which the US ramped up its enforcement of the once-dormant foreign bribery law.
In his time as head of the FCPA unit, the Justice Department brought its landmark foreign bribery case against German conglomerate Siemens, which agreed to pay US$800 million in 2008 to US authorities to settle corruption allegations in the US. The company also paid US$800 million to German authorities in a parallel enforcement action. The case is widely regarded as a watershed moment in foreign bribery enforcement around the world.
Soon after the Siemens settlement, Houston-based global engineering firm Kellogg Brown & Root LLC, a subsidiary of KBR Inc, pleaded guilty in 2009 to violating the FCPA and agreed to pay US$402 million – a record for a US company. The DOJ also secured a guilty plea from former KBR Inc CEO Albert “Jack” Stanley, who was sentenced to two-and-a-half-years in prison. The convictions were the first in a series of prosecutions of companies involved in the construction of the Bonny Island natural gas facility in Nigeria.
By the time Mendelsohn left the DOJ in 2010, the FCPA had gained plenty of publicity. Forbes magazine even ran an article titled ‘The Bribery Racket’, criticising the practice of DOJ prosecutors leaving the department to advise companies snared by the laws the prosecutors once enforced, and charging them large amounts of money in the process.
Since joining Paul Weiss, Mendelsohn has advised companies such as Sony Entertainment and JP Morgan Chase on FCPA internal investigations. Mendelsohn was also initially hired by News Corp for an internal investigation into foreign bribery allegations but was let go.
He worked as a prosecutor in the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York between 1998 and 2003, and gained his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1993.