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eCounsel group

A boutique firm with unparalleled expertise in business and technology. We have good command of industrial ecology and legal practice, and have undertaken highly regarded cases. Because the small business scope, we pay more emphasis on effectiveness and efficiency, and choose clients with deliberation. The managing partner not only has extensive experiences in various legal issues more over than 20 years, but invests and manages several technology companies. In addition, he always checks each case rigorously. Clients’ business objectives are our primary focus. To achieve the same in the most cost-effective fashion trumps all seemingly sophisticated legal discussions.

Lack of Knowledge in Law, A Cog Could Break The Machine

2014 - 06 - 10

We have been the legal counsel for the company for a decade. It is a listed company in Taiwan, has a healthy growth in sales and EPS year over year and its stock price looks great.

擔任A公司的常年法律顧問已經十幾年了。它在台上市,類股中的資優生,年年營收及EPS正成長,股價漂亮。公司高層和我們互動順暢,各種跨境交易、併購、智財權和勞資上的疑難雜症也都責成我們處理。

A有個美國大客戶,超級buyer,B公司。B打算和A進一步更緊密合作,並逐年擴大向A的採購,因此請A提供各項成本費用的數據,希望在精算後,訂出的交易模式更能確保雙方之共同長久利益;為此,B找了一家會計師事務所C來辦這件事。算著算著,發現A有個國外工廠在3年前出了一筆貨給B,那筆貨的成本帳上列了一條金額US$200的項目,既沒有原始憑證,又囫圇用 “Miscellaneous” (雜項) 帶過。C要確認這筆錢是啥玩意兒,就問了A的經辦人X。X回覆「這是給當地海關的暗盤,因為當時趕著辦出口,所以請他們加班幫忙」。

C回報之後,B瘋掉了。各位如果還不懂B為什麼會瘋,麻煩先讓我賣個關子,等下再講。

【遇到這種情形,關於X當時講的「暗盤」是真話還是瞎掰,我既不會抓他來問、也不會請教A公司裡的任何一位。有經驗、夠成熟的律師,就知道隨便問問題是會惹上麻煩的。這件事情到今天算是結案了,我們先作好了全面的舖陳與損害控管,也精準預判了B公司的反應,處理得非常成功,A很滿意。但即便是到現在,如果問我究竟X講的話有幾分真實,我還是只能告訴你「我不知道,我也不想知道」】

美國的大公司,沒有哪一個是正義的化身,跟美國政府沒兩樣,從來都是講一套,做一套。即便如此,但總還是非常堅持道貌岸然地用他講的那一套去要求別人。骨子裡,他們知不知道你心口不一、陽奉陰違?廢話,他自己都這樣了,哪會不知道!不過,你愛吃燒餅可以,要拿個盤子接好芝蔴粒,別讓它掉滿地。否則,左一個水門案、右一個史諾登,臉打不完,日子是要怎樣過下去。

B會瘋掉,主要的原因就是美國企業必須遵守Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA, 外國貪腐行為法),而基於FCPA,他們就在供應商合約及守則中設計了一大堆的控制程序,要確保自己的供應商也不可以在國外行賄。而自己往來甚久這麼大的一家上市公司A,居然坦白承認塞錢給海關,以加速作業,這是何等嚴重的事!每年破十億台幣的訂單,可能就此付諸東流。

四次和A公司高層面對面、整天電話不斷、加上和B公司的資深法務副總裁以及營業部門的越洋電話會議,我幫客戶定了調,整起事件是「X自作主張信口開河擺烏龍」。A很擔心,這樣真的行嗎?對方明明就還是在懷疑啊?我們是不是要把真相攤開全部承認?需不需要ooxx…. 我回答「別多想了,我擬封信,以公司最高主管的名義發回去給B,應該就會到此為止了」。我的作文(當然,為保護當事人,這邊已刪除大部分段落和文字)是這樣寫的「… we have been required to adopt strict internal control procedures and compliance programs to ensure that all laws, regulations, contractual obligations, code of conduct, and accounting rules are abided by… After investigations…, we have yet found a single trace of evidence indicating that this company or any of its affiliates has engaged in said wrongdoings…  Though this incident arose because someone from this company took matter in her own hands by giving imaginary responses to our partners without factual basis… we have engaged experienced outside counsels and consultants to further strengthen the designs and implementations of the compliance programs currently in place so that nothing inconsistent with the truth may be presented …」(我知道你一定會說 “You talked a lot but said nothing…”)。

過了一個月,收到B的正式回文,表示肯定A在法令遵循上的持續改善之努力,以及我們的調查結論,並說「we do not have further questions at this time…」。

【其實我打從一開始就知道,B的法務長再怎麼樣也不會相信我(A公司主管也是擔心這一點),而一定認為X最初講的才是真相,畢竟「案重初供」啊。但是,我懶得理他信不信,我敢賭這把,只要我們正式這麼回函,站在公司立場,B會被迫接受,難道他們能派員去一一訊問我們的廠區主管、承辦人、和當地海關官員嗎?】

關於內部控制制度和法令遵循計畫,我們因為興趣和工作關係,十來年間投注無數心力研究,也著成了十餘萬字的論文,就跨國企業或中小企業之應用自是瞭然於胸。作出建議給客戶,我們有九成五的把握會過關,但畢竟也花了好幾十個小時(我們一個小時的律師費就比X提到的那筆錢要貴了),A公司內部動員處理本案件的耗費更沒算進去。所幸挽救得宜,否則就那麼一句無知又無心的回覆,可真會一言喪邦啊!

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