By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Kara Novaco Brockmeyer, the attorney at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who oversees the unit that polices foreign bribery laws, plans to depart the SEC later this month, the regulator announced Tuesday.
Brockmeyer, a 17-year veteran of the SEC, has led the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) unit since 2011.
The unit was one of five specialty areas created in 2010 in an effort to bolster the SEC's enforcement program following revelations over the agency's repeated failures to detect Bernard Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme.
Brockmeyer oversaw a wide array of FCPA cases, including charges against hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC and its chief executive Daniel Och over bribery in Africa, charges against JPMorgan Chase & Co following the so-called "princeling" investigation into hiring practices in China in order to win business and charges against Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer SA over bribes paid in a variety of countries.
The SEC said that after Brockmeyer departs, the unit's current deputy chief Charles Cain will serve as acting chief until a permanent replacement is named.
The SEC's enforcement of the FCPA is an area that is being actively watched by the defense bar, after President Donald Trump previously made disparaging remarks about the law and called for it to be changed.
Trump's pick to lead the SEC, Wall Street attorney Jay Clayton, also previously chaired a committee at the New York City Bar Association which drafted a paper that was somewhat critical of how the law was being enforced.
Clayton, whose nomination was approved by the Senate Banking Committee earlier on Tuesday, is still awaiting confirmation by the full Senate.
Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee have previously raised concerns about whether he will actively pursue FCPA cases.
In written responses to questions from the panel's top Democrat Sherrod Brown following his confirmation hearing, Clayton said he believes the law can be a "powerful and effective means" to combating corruption.
He added, however, that it is more effective when international authorities are also willing to coordinate and take enforcement actions against bribery, as opposed to having the United States go at it alone.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch)