On Monday, June 22, 2020, the Second Circuit affirmed the “honest services wire fraud” convictions of two former officials of the global soccer (or “football”) organization Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). United States v. Napout, Nos. 18-2750, 18-2820, 2020 WL 3406620 (June 22, 2020). The closely watched case underscores important questions about the source of the fiduciary duty in the context of honest services fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1346, and reflects the relentlessly aggressive approach of the US Department of Justice to policing overseas corruption, even conduct that on its face has little or no direct impact on the United States or its citizens.
Like the recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prosecution of an executive of Alstom S.A who never set foot in the United States (discussed in a prior DLA Piper alert here), the case highlights the risks of US prosecutions for organizations and individuals operating abroad. Notably, the so-called FIFA prosecutions were not brought under the FCPA, as the conduct at issue was not corrupt payments to government officials, but rather private commercial bribery.
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