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William Sullivan Anticipates More Insider Trading Investigations in 2013
William M. Sullivan, Jr.
Mr. Sullivan is a litigation partner in Pillsbury’s Washington, DC office who concentrates on corporate internal investigations, trial practice and white-collar criminal defense, as well as complex civil litigation, securities enforcement, export control and other regulatory actions, with a particular emphasis on criminal antitrust enforcement and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
As co-leader of Pillsbury’s Corporate Investigations and White Collar Defense Practice Group, Mr. Sullivan has substantial experience in the courtroom, the boardroom and in between, representing public and private companies as well as key executives and public officials in global corporate regulatory and internal investigations, parallel proceedings, trial and grand jury matters, congressional and independent counsel inquiries, public corruption matters and white collar criminal defense. He also counsels multinational companies and financial institutions and their officers and directors, with specific emphasis on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), antitrust and securities matters, international trade and export control, as well as fraud, money laundering, Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and USA PATRIOT Act issues. Mr. Sullivan has prepared, implemented, audited, investigated and successfully defended compliance and business strategy programs for companies engaged in industries as diverse as manufacturing, defense, telecommunications, finance, energy, pharmaceuticals and aerospace. He is also experienced in complex civil litigation, particularly that which relates to government enforcement activity, such as False Claims Act, qui tam and whistleblower matters, class actions and shareholder derivative suits.
Mr. Sullivan has been uniquely successful on behalf of both companies and individuals in persuading government regulatory authorities to decline to pursue criminal prosecution or other enforcement actions involving a diverse array of matters, including FCPA, antitrust, export control and securities fraud. Due to the nature of Mr. Sullivan’s practice, a large number of his most successful matters have not resulted in public charges being filed, and therefore remain confidential.
Mr. Sullivan honed his courtroom skills while serving for more than 10 years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. During his service, he tried several high-profile cases involving first-degree murder, perjury, fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy, narcotics and criminal RICO charges. Mr. Sullivan was lead prosecutor in the first federal death penalty case to be tried in almost 50 years in the District of Columbia. He has won over 70 federal criminal jury cases and has argued, and prevailed, in over 20 appeals in both New York and the District of Columbia. He has won numerous Department of Justice awards and commendations.
Investigations Involving Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
- Represented a former executive of a Hungarian telecommunications company in a parallel SEC/DOJ investigation involving allegations of bribery of government officials in Macedonia and Montenegro. Obtained declination from DOJ in connection with criminal investigation.
- Represented a company and an employee of a publicly traded U.S. manufacturer of military equipment in the so-called SHOT Show sting case. Described as the single largest investigation and prosecution of individuals in the history of the FCPA, it also marked the first time the U.S. government used informants, wiretaps and other "sting" enforcement technologies in an FCPA investigation. Obtained declination from government agencies in connection with subsequent SEC administrative and DOJ criminal inquiries.
- Represented a petroleum and natural gas engineering company in a high-profile parallel SEC/DOJ FCPA investigation in which Mr. Sullivan successfully persuaded both agencies to decline criminal and civil enforcement actions.
- Represented a foreign multinational energy and transportation company regarding a comprehensive DOJ international criminal investigation.
- Representation of an individual involved in a criminal FCPA investigation in connection with the privatization of state-owned enterprises in Azerbaijan.
- Representation of a major U.S. aerospace company in connection with internal investigations of possible FCPA violations in China, Greece, Spain, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
- Successfully represented former senior executive of a Fortune 50 company in connection with an internal investigation of potential FCPA issues; obtained declination from government agencies in relation to subsequent SEC administrative and DOJ criminal inquiries.
- Successfully represented a former Senior Vice President of a division of a leading international provider of intercontinental air freight and ocean freight forwarding and logistics services in a DOJ investigation of that company’s freight-forwarding and customs clearance practices in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and other countries and whether such practices resulted in violations of the FCPA.
- Representation of a U.K. company in a comprehensive FCPA audit of its international business operations.
- Preparation and implementation of corporate FCPA compliance programs for companies engaged in various industries, including telecommunications, energy, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and aerospace.
Corporate Investigations, Compliance, Criminal Defense and Other Matters
- Represented a foreign sovereign nation in connection with asset recovery and evaluation of international criminal violations as well as related interactions with US law enforcement representatives.
- Representation of several Swiss banks in probes by the DOJ and Internal Revenue Service into offshore accounts held by American depositors. The Swiss Federal Department of Finance has entered into an intergovermental agreement with the IRS to assist Swiss financial institutions in becoming compliant with FATCA.
- Represented a Japanese auto parts manufacturer in various probes into allegations of anti-competitive practices in the auto parts industry by regulators in both the United States and Europe, and which has grown to become the single largest criminal antitrust investigation ever conducted by the Department of Justice. After a two year investigation and several declination presentations, convinced DOJ to cease its inquiry into Pillsbury’s client.
- Represented Gibson Guitar in a high-profile investigation by the Department of Justice and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service alleging violations of the Lacey Act pertaining to the importation of exotic hardwoods. After a controversial three-year criminal investigation which included government search warrants and asset seizures, the parties agreed to a comprehensive resolution of all potential civil and criminal liabilities, including all potential charges against Gibson’s officers, directors and employees.
- Represented a private equity firm in DOJ investigation of securities disclosure issues and PIPE transactions; persuaded DOJ to cease its inquiry of Pillsbury’s client.
- Represented the Special Committee of a Japanese manufacturer of optical imaging devices organized to investigate allegations of accounting irregularities before U.S. regulators.
- Represented officers and directors of a Japanese electronics manufacturer in grand jury proceeding regarding allegations of price fixing of liquid crystal display applications. The investigation was concluded without any charges brought against our clients or the Company.
- Represented Richard Convertino, the former federal prosecutor who obtained a criminal conviction in 2003 of a domestic Al Qaeda terrorist sleeper cell, but who himself was later charged with obstruction of justice, false statements, and conspiracy in a month-long jury trial. Mr. Convertino was acquitted at trial of all counts against him.
- Represented a prominent Bush administration official in an investigation by the Department of Justice regarding a Congressional appearance.
- Defended officers of an international parcel tanker shipping enterprise in a criminal antitrust investigation involving allegations of price fixing, customer allocation, and continued criminal conduct following disclosure under the Department of Justice's amnesty program. The indictment of the company was dismissed.
- Represented a key international sales executive of a foreign company in a U.S. criminal antitrust investigation of the undersea cable industry.
- Represented a former vice chairman of Enron Corporation in parallel proceedings before Congress, the SEC, and the Department of Justice (DOJ). No criminal or civil litigation ensued.
- Represented the Special Committee on Accounting Matters of the Board of Directors of Global Crossing, Ltd. in an internal investigation culminating in a published report of findings.
- Represented several officers of Freddie Mac concerning allegations of accounting irregularities.
- Represented a prominent businessman regarding a DOJ public corruption investigation of a national legislative leader.
- Represented the former controller of U.S. Foodservice, Inc. a subsidiary of Royal Ahold, N.V. in connection with parallel federal investigations of alleged questionable accounting practices by Royal Ahold and its subsidiaries. No criminal prosecution resulted.
- Represented the CEO of the Middle East’s largest Internet service provider involving a criminal investigation of a USAID contract.
- Represented over a dozen current and former officers and employees of a publicly traded investment firm under investigation by both the SEC and DOJ regarding purported securities and portfolio valuation fraud. No criminal or civil litigation ensued.
- Represented several officers and directors of a national financial institution regarding allegations of Bank Secrecy Act violations and money laundering.
Investigations Involving Office of Foreign Assets Control
- Represented a U.S.-based telecommunications company in connection with an FBI investigation having national security implications and involving alleged violations of U.S. export control laws, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations and the FCPA
- Represented a pharmaceutical company in criminal proceedings brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida relating to alleged violations of U.S. export control laws, mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy. The representation resulted in a highly favorable settlement arrangement under which the client agreed to plead guilty to a single point of failing to certify a shipment of hazardous material. Subsequent representation of the same company in civil administrative enforcement proceedings before the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Defense Trade Controls for alleged violations of International Trafficking in Arms Regulations, resulting in a declination of any enforcement action or financial penalty.
- Representation of a company that was the target of a criminal export control investigation pursued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Persuaded the U.S. Attorney’s Office to forgo criminal prosecution thereby ending a two-year criminal investigation that included the execution of a search warrant on the client’s facility by 50 federal agents.
- Representation of a U.S. manufacturer of construction equipment in an enforcement action brought by OFAC. Secured a favorable settlement without enforcement action.
- Representation of a U.S. company operating in Russia in a comprehensive audit of its five businesses to evaluate possible violations of U.S. law. This work included coordinating all aspects of the investigations, supervising accountants, reporting to the audit committee, and implementing a new compliance policy for the company.
- Representation of several U.S. and multi-national companies under criminal investigation for violations of U.S. export and customs laws, including on-site defense and counseling on defense strategies.
- Advice to a major U.S. aerospace company in connection with payments made under contracts with a Russian-based service provider.
- Preparation and implementation of export trade corporate compliance programs (covering U.S. export controls, OFAC sanctions and embargoes, the FCPA, and U.S. anti-boycott regulations) for companies engaged in a wide array of industries, including telecommunications, space launch services, and satellite processing.
Notable Criminal Jury Trials
- U.S. v. Richard Convertino and Harry Smith, (E.D. Mich.)—Successfully defended former Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino, who obtained the first and only conviction of a domestic Al Qaeda terrorist sleeper cell after the September 11, 2001 attacks, but who was himself later indicted on conspiracy, obstruction of justice and false statement charges. After a month long trial in Detroit, the jury acquitted Mr. Convertino of all charges in only three hours.
- Commonwealth v. Mariello, (Virginia State Court)—Successfully defended the dining services purchasing officer of a prominent southern university accused of embezzling funds to be credited to the school as rebates for purchases. Obtained an acquittal on all counts despite a pre-trial confession and the adverse testimony of an alleged accomplice.
- U.S. v. Edelin, et al (D.D.C.)—Prosecuted a federal narcotics racketeering (RICO) conspiracy and continuing criminal enterprise case in which the Attorney General of the United States authorized seeking the death penalty against the lead defendant in the event of an conviction, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 848. The 100 count indictment upon which the trial proceeded was the result of a two year investigation and charged a 15 year narcotics and racketeering conspiracy. The government called over 100 witnesses, including 30 accomplices, and presented over 1,000 evidentiary exhibits. The defendants were each convicted of multiple counts, and are serving life sentences.
- U.S. v. Hammond, et al (D.D.C.)—Personally selected by then U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to prosecute a high-profile multi-count co-defendant case involving the murder for hire of a law enforcement officer while on his way to court to testify as a government witness. Obtained first-degree murder and obstruction of justice convictions.
- U.S. v. Atkins, Taylor, et al (District of Columbia Superior Court)—Obtained felony murder convictions as the prosecutor in a matter involving multiple defendants and where the medical examiner listed the cause of death as "undetermined."
- U.S. v. Fields (District of Columbia Superior Court)—Obtained a murder conviction as the prosecutor in a high-profile trial in which the defendant testified before the jury to an alibi defense, only to admit to having committed the crime under cross-examination.
- Chambers USA, White Collar Crime & Government Investigations—DC (2008-2009)
- Legal 500 US, Antitrust (2012-2013), White-Collar Criminal Defense (2013)
- Super Lawyers (2007, 2009, 2011)
American Bar Association and the ABA’s White Collar Crime Committee’s Upjohn Warnings Task Force and Parallel Proceedings Task Force; Association of the Bar of the City of New York; the District of Columbia Bar; the Bar Association of the District of Columbia; the Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court; Chairman Emeritus of the Steering Committee, Forum on Corporate Enforcement; Faculty Member, University of Virginia’s Trial Advocacy Institute
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Second and Fourth Circuits; U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, the Eastern District of Michigan, District of Connecticut, the District Court for the District of Columbia, and the Middle District of Florida
- Forum on Corporate Enforcement, Boca Raton, Florida, May 30, 2013, “Discovery & Brady Recommendations”
Compliance Week’s World Tour Webcast Series, April 26, 2013,
“Compliance and Regulatory Risks: China”
- The American Chamber of Commerce of Finland, Helsinki, Finland, March 12, 2013, “Combatting Corruption: Compliance with the FCPA”
- Sixth Advanced European Forum on Anti-Corruption, Frankfurt, Germany, January 30, 2013, “Building the Defence: Contrasting Multi-Jurisdictional Defence Strategies Against Bribery and Corruption Allegations”
- American Conference Institute’s Advanced Summit on White Collar Litigation, New York, NY, January 23, 2013, “Developing Successful Strategies for Securing Exculpatory Evidence and Crafting Successful Brady Requests”
- Corporate Counsel Webinar, December 17, 2012, “In-depth View of New FCPA Guidance and a Study on Risk”
- Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman Annual MCLE Marathon, McLean, Virginia, October 3, 2012, “Anti-Corruption Due Diligence in Cross-Border M&A Transactions”
- American Lawyer Magazine General Counsel Conference, New York City, June 11-12, 2011, “Best Practices in Corporate Internal Investigations”
- Forum on Corporate Enforcement, Hillsboro Beach, Florida, May 31, 2012, “Stretching the Fair Boundaries of Laws”
- American Conference Institute’s 15th National Forum on Global Export Controls Compliance: How to Update Compliance and IT Strategies to Respond to Heightened BIS, DDTC and OFAC Enforcement, Washington DC, May 23, 2012, “Rising Enforcement Against Individuals: The Latest on Prosecutions, Penalties and Sentencing, and Increased Liability Risks Going Forward”
- Forum on Corporate Enforcement, Keswick Hall, Charlottesville, VA, May 5, 2011, “Pervasive Theme: The Criminalization of Corporate Conduct” and “An Individual Justice & Meeting the Needs of Foreign Sovereigns: The DOJ in the Age of Multinational Crime”
- International Association of Defense Counsel’s Corporate Counsel College, Chicago, April 22, 2010, “Attorney General Generated Litigation and Litigation Arising Out of Government Regulation”
- American Lawyer Magazine General Counsel Conference, New York City, June 9-10, 2009, “Navigating the Likely Criminal and Civil Fallout from Recent Investment and Securities Fiascoes like the Madoff Affair”
- Stafford Publications Teleconference, December 23, 2008, “DOJ Cooperation Standards Revised: Attorney-Client Privilege Remains at Risk”
- Association of Corporate Counsel, McLean, Virginia, September 23, 2008, “Trends in Whistleblower Litigation – What You Need to Know About Investigating and Handling Whistleblower Complaints”
- The Committee on the Judiciary, United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, Washington, DC, March 8, 2007, Mr. Sullivan testified on “The McNulty Memorandum’s Effect on the Right to Counsel in Corporate Investigations”
- American Conference Institute Program, New York City, December 5, 2006, “Export Controls and Enforcement” and “Conducting Forensic Investigations”
- American Bar Association’s Fall 2006 National Legal Malpractice Conference, Chicago, Il, Fall 2006
- The Committee on the Judiciary, United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, March 7, 2006, Mr. Sullivan testified on “White Collar Enforcement: Attorney-Client Privilege and Corporate Waivers”
Mr. Sullivan’s opinions are regularly sought by the national media and he is often featured as a legal commentator on national television regarding trial advocacy and strategy, as well as complex, high-profile criminal and terrorism cases, and has appeared on Fox, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and Court TV. He is frequently interviewed by Metropolitan Corporate Counsel Magazine and has also been the subject of articles in Washington Lawyer and other publications, including, The Legal Times and The National Law Journal regarding his representation of former Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino.