Violations of the FCPA must be enforced within five years of the last act required to complete the crime or violation.1  However:

  • the limitations period for civil claims against foreign individuals does not begin to run until the defendant is physically present in the US, even if service of process is available under foreign or international laws; and
  • the limitations period does not apply to injunctive relief, as it is an equitable remedy.

Tolling.  There are two situations in which the statute of limitations may be tolled:

  • when the government makes an ex parte application to the court based on an outstanding request for overseas evidence;2 or
  • by agreement between the subject of the enforcement action and the government.  For more on tolling, see here.  

Conspiracy Charges.  The government may reach acts outside of the five-year limitations period by charging a conspiracy under 18 USC § 371.  The five-year limitations period for criminal conspiracy begins to run from the last overt act during the existence of the conspiracy.3  Only one overt act is required during the five-year period to charge all of the conduct that was part of the alleged conspiracy, regardless of when the conduct took place.  

1 18 USC § 3282 (statute of limitations for criminal violations); 28 USC § 2462 (statute of limitations for civil violations).

2 18 USC § 3292.

3 See, e.g., Fiswick v. United States, 329 U.S. 211, 216-17 (1946).

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