In an unprecedented blow to the government’s assertion of jurisdiction under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), United States District Judge Richard Leon, presiding over the so-called Shot Show Sting cases, granted the Rule 29 acquittal motion of Defendant Pankesh Patel on the ground that the government could not establish that jurisdiction over “persons other than issuers or domestic concerns” under the FCPA reached the defendant.

The Court rejected the government’s argument for FCPA jurisdiction over Patel, the managing director of a U.K. company that acted as a sales agent for companies in the law enforcement and military products industries, founded on Patel’s mailing a DHL package containing a purchase agreement in furtherance of a corrupt scheme from the United Kingdom to the United States.

Although Judge Leon has not issued a written opinion detailing his rationale, this ruling represents the first successful challenge to the government’s expansive interpretation of the FCPA’s jurisdictional reach and therefore will likely serve as a catalyst for similar jurisdictional challenges in the future.