SEC’s Top Foreign Bribery Lawyer to Join Simpson Thacher

Cheryl Scarboro, a 19-year Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer who has led the agency’s foreign bribery investigations since last year, is leaving to join law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

Scarboro, 47, will become a partner in Simpson Thacher’s Washington office in the government and internal investigations practice, the firm said today in a statement. She’s leaving the SEC 16 months after being appointed to lead an enforcement unit focused on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits U.S. firms from bribing officials to win or maintain business.

Under Scarboro’s watch, the SEC focused corruption probes to look across industries and regions it considered more prone to bribery, instead of targeting individual firms. In November, the agency reached a $237 million settlement with seven oil services companies accused of bribing officials in Africa, Asia and South America, and earlier this year launched a sweeping probe into whether financial firms were making improper payments to win business from sovereign wealth funds.

“While Cheryl’s accomplishments at the SEC are many, she will long be remembered for her outstanding work in matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” Enforcement Director Robert Khuzami said today in a statement. “Her efforts in this area coincided with a resurgence in the SEC’s scrutiny of companies that make illegal payments to win business.”

Satyam, Dow Jones

Scarboro, who also served as counsel to former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, worked on cases involving Satyam Computer Services Ltd. and five PricewaterhouseCoopers units based in India, as well as a bribery case against Siemens AG, which resulted in an $800 million settlement. She also led a probe of former Dow Jones & Co. director David Li, who agreed to pay $8.1 million for tipping a friend that his company was a takeover target for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

“In recent years, the SEC and other regulatory bodies have increased their focus on identifying violations under the FCPA,” Paul Curnin, co-head of Simpson Thacher’s litigation practice, said in the firm’s statement. “Cheryl’s experience and insight developed over her 19 year tenure at the SEC will be extremely beneficial to our clients.”

Scarboro holds a degree in political science from the University of Alabama and a law degree from Duke University School of Law, according to the SEC.

“It has been a great honor to spend the last 19 years working with the talented professionals at the Commission,” Scarboro said in a statement. Tomorrow is scheduled to be her last day at the SEC.

Bloomberg News reported Scarboro’s plans earlier today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joshua Gallu in Washington at jgallu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lawrence Roberts at lroberts13@bloomberg.net

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