In recognition of the significance South America has played in recent FCPA enforcement, yesterday the FBI announced that it will establish a team of agents in Miami focused on FCPA cases in Miami and South America. Leslie Backschies, the Chief of the FBI’s international corruption unit, told reporters on March 4, 2019, that the new squad will focus not only on possible payoffs to South American government officials in order to obtain or retain business (bread and butter FCPA cases) but also focus on what happens to that money once it is paid.
Backschies said: “One thing when I talk to companies [she asks] do you know where your bribe goes? Is your bribe going to fund terrorism.” She also noted that Miami has become a hub of possible money laundering – “it’s a city where we see individuals hiding their money, through shell companies, through real estate, through boating.” The new squad in Miami will be comprised on six FBI agents and will report directly to officials at FBI headquarters in Washington.
The new team therefore will focus on several frequent topics of this blog: the strong overlap between FCPA and money laundering cases; the use of high-end U.S. real estate to launder money; the push to track the beneficial ownership of entities; the movement of proceeds of official corruption through the international financial system; and the money laundering relationship between the United States and South America — particularly, at least within the last few years, Venezuela (among other posts involving Venezuela, see here, here and here).