Recent District Court Decision on Applicability of FOIA to Siemens FCPA Monitorship Documents Provides Guidance on Scope of Possible Disclosures
June 26, 2018
On June 13, 2018, in its latest decision in a long-running litigation, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia considered the applicability of certain exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act to documents sought by journalists relating to the actions of the independent compliance monitor that Siemens AG was required to retain under the terms of its 2008 plea agreement for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Broadly speaking, although the court concluded that portions of the documents that related to Siemens’ business operations and the DOJ’s analysis of the monitor’s activities were exempted from disclosure, the court also required the DOJ to produce other portions of those materials and to reevaluate, based on the court’s decision, whether additional materials had to be disclosed. The decision, and the lengthy litigation over the application of FOIA to these materials, highlight the complexity of identifying the boundaries of the FOIA protection applicable to the typically sensitive and confidential information companies provide to compliance monitors and the risk that such information later will have to be disclosed once it is in the hands of the government.
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This blog post was also republished by Law360.