Morrison & Foerster

Morrison & Foerster made a big expansion into the FCPA market in January 2014, when it hired Charles Duross, the former head of the DOJ’s foreign bribery unit.

Once dubbed “Mr FCPA” by the Washington Post, Duross spent nearly four years as the head of the unit. He arrived at the fraud section in 2006, after working for five years as an assistant US attorney in Miami, and was soon working exclusively on foreign bribery cases. In October 2008, he was promoted to assistant chief of the FCPA unit, and in September 2010 he succeeded Mark Mendelsohn, now a partner at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, as the unit’s leader.

In April 2015, the firm also recruited James Koukios, a former assistant chief of the FCPA unit and a longtime colleague of Duross from his days in Miami. With the addition of Koukios, MoFo became the only firm with two former FCPA unit managers.

Duross and Koukios brought a wealth of trial experience to the firm. During his tenure at the fraud section, Duross secured the conviction at trial of Representative William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat who was famously found with $90,000 in cash hidden in his freezer. Although he was acquitted of the FCPA charges brought against him, Jefferson was found guilty on 11 corruption charges related to his role in brokering deals for American businesses in West Africa and was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Duross also helped try John O’Shea in Houston. A former manager for the US subsidiary of Swiss engineering company ABB, O’Shea was acquitted from the bench of FCPA charges by a skeptical district court judge before the case could go to jury.

Koukios tried the case against Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez, former telecommunications executives who were convicted in 2011 for paying bribes to Haitian government officials at the country’s state-owned telecommunications company, known as Haiti Teleco. 

Koukios also secured the conviction of Rene Duperval, a former director of Haiti Teleco, in a separate trial the following year. Duperval was convicted in March 2012 of two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 19 counts of money laundering and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Other lawyers with substantial experience on FCPA matters in MoFo’s Washington office are Demme Doufekias and Jessie Liu. Liu, who worked for four years as a federal prosecutor in the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, joined the firm in April from Jenner & Block, where she was co-chair of the white-collar defence and investigations practice. Liu also served a stint in DOJ headquarters as deputy chief of staff in the national security division, and as a deputy assistant attorney general.

While the firm has reportedly advised on a substantial number of FCPA-related investigations and cases, none of the matters handled since the addition of Duross and Koukios have become public.

The firm has conducted numerous cross-border investigations for clients in Latin America and Asia. It has handled voluntary self-disclosures to the government, and in some cases secured declinations.

One recent internal investigation stemmed from a whistleblower complaint and focused on a publicly-traded multinational company's hiring practices in India. MoFo was able to secure declinations from the DoJ and SEC within months of making a presentation of their findings.

MoFo has also represented an officer of a large oil services firm in US investigations into potential FCPA violations in Indonesia and Brazil; a Fortune 500 company in an SEC probe into accounting and related foreign bribery issues; the former head of an entertainment sales and distribution company in an FCPA internal investigation; and a US company in a matter involving the sale of aerospace supplies in Asia.

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