The Department of Justice is investigating potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by Millicom International Cellular SA in Guatemala, the company disclosed in a 6-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
According to Stanford Law School’s FCPA ClearingHouse, “Millicom disclosed that it received a subpoena from the DOJ on April 27, 2022, requesting information regarding the company’s activities in Guatemala (“Tigo Guatemala”), including including information relating to the 2021 purchase of Millicom’s former joint venture partner’s interest in Tigo Guatemala and information relating to any contact with certain Guatemalan government officials.”
The FCPA, passed by Congress in 1977, is America’s primary anti-corruption law. It prohibits the payment of bribes to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining business advantages. It also contains accounting provisions requiring publicly traded companies to establish and maintain books and records that accurately reflect the company’s transactions. In 2010, the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA), which established the SEC’s whistleblower program, added whistleblower provisions to the FCPA. Individuals may disclose information relating to potential violations of the FCPA to the SEC or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Under the SEC and CFTC Whistleblower Programs, qualified whistleblowers, individuals who voluntarily provide the SEC or CFTC with original information leading to successful enforcement action, are eligible for a monetary reward of $10 to 30% of the funds recovered by the government. Additionally, the related action provisions of the DFA allow whistleblowers to receive rewards when their disclosure to the SEC also leads to successful enforcement action by another agency. For example, a whistleblower whose disclosure results in FCPA charges by the SEC and DOJ could be eligible for rewards based on penalties levied by both agencies.
In August, Boston Scientific, a biotech engineering firm, disclosed in a quarterly report that a whistleblower alleged the company violated the FCPA with its Vietnam operations.
2021 has been a year of decline for FCPA enforcement. According to a report from the FCPA Clearinghouse, 2021 saw the lowest number of FCPA enforcement actions in a decade. The report says the SEC and DOJ only filed 18 FCPA enforcement actions in 2021.
Investigation into the activities of Millicom International Cellular in Guatemala in connection with Tigo Guatemala
More information on FCPA whistleblowers at WNN