Importance of the Case
In this case, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has amplified their efforts to control corrupt foreign officials allegedly accepting bribes in return for improper commercial or corporate advantages. This prosecution can be considered as wider strategy of the DOJ to target the demand part of the foreign bribery instead of concentrating on individuals who pay bribes. In this case, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) implementation actions were applied by the DOJ during initial period of 1990s, regarding the alleged scheme to accept their bid to sell buses to the Saskatchewan provincial government (Stanford University, 2018). The trial court as well as the appellate court reproached the position of the DOJ, that the suspected foreign officials were charged with plotting to infringe the FCPA and the decisions of both the courts included broad analysis of the legislative history of the FCPA. The alleged bribe payers, the two defendants were found not guilty. When Castle and Lowry claimed to dismiss the allegations against them because they were Canadian officials, the issues outlined by the court were that defendants could not be prosecuted for the violation of FCPA itself, because the Act does not penalize the acceptance of bribe by foreign official but, the government can prosecute foreign officials under the general conspiracy law for conspiring the violation of the FCPA (Westlaw, 2012).
Considering the Gebardi v. U.S., the court stated that it might not permit the Executives to make the intention of Congress ineffective by not prosecuting the foreign officials for their involvement in the illegal activities (FCPA Professor, 2017). Based on the legislative history, the Court established what was found by the Supreme Court in Gebardi that the Mann Act was an assenting legislative policy to leave without punishing, a distinct group of persons who were important parties, found being involved in the violation of the substantive law.
In the 5th Circuit Opinion, the court held that foreign officials might not be impeached under 18 USC 371 for the conspiracy to disobey the FCPA but, the scope of holding and the purpose that is involved is entirely established in the opinion of the trial court. It was established by the trial court that the foreign officials accepting the bribe were excluded from the prosecution for the applicable offense (FCPA Professor, 2017). However, the Congress involved every potential person associated with such payments apart from foreign officials, it can be concluded that the Congress might have affirmatively opted to exempt the foreign officials from prosecution. The legislative history frequently mentioned about the negative impact of the revelation of such bribes and, it was reflected upon by the law that the illegal or unethical payments within the US, which might not be considered in a similar manner in foreign countries, such payments cannot be outlawed (Dearington, 2017).
The conclusion of the report is that the foreign officials involved in conspiracy of infringing the anti-bribery laws and provisions of the FCPA might not be prosecuted. The decision of the Congress to pass by such prosecutions was supported by the facts of this case, because foreign countries are required to prosecute their own officials for taking the bribes. As the defendants foreign officials were Canadian officials, the Canadian police had been investigating the case.
Dearington, M.F., 2017. Ocasio v. United States: The Supreme Court’ Sudden Expansion of Conspiracy Liability (And Why Bribe-Taking Foreign Officials Should Take Note). Washington and Lee Law Review Online, 74(1), pp.204-10.
FCPA Professor, 2017. How The Supreme Court’s Hobbs Act Decision In Ocasio v. United States Could Expand The Bounds Of Conspiracy Law And Mean Trouble For Bribe-Taking Foreign Officials. [Online] Available at: https://fcpaprofessor.com/category/demand-for-bribes/ [Accessed 21 September 2018].
Stanford University, 2018. United States of America v. John Blondek, et al. [Online] Available at: https://fcpa.stanford.edu/enforcement-action.html?id=8 [Accessed 20 September 2018].
Westlaw, 2012. United States of America v John BLONDEK, Vernon R. Tull, Donald Castle,and Darrell W.T. Lowry. [Online] Available at: https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/criminal-fraud/legacy/2012/06/22/1990-06-04-blondekj-memo-dismiss-indict-%28castle-lowry%29.pdf [Accessed 21 September 2018].