Attorneys At Law
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Joseph P. Covington


Tysons Corner Office
8000 Towers Crescent Drive, Suite 900
Tysons Corner, VA 22182
Phone: (703) 847-6300
Fax: (703) 847-6312

Mr. Covington has over 35 years of white collar litigation and counseling experience in the domestic and international marketplaces, with expert knowledge of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the Anti-Kickback Act, the False Claims Act, and other criminal and civil fraud statutes and regulations. Mr. Covington’s FCPA experience began in 1977 as a trial attorney in the Fraud Section at the Department of Justice investigating foreign bribery cases, and later served as head of DOJ’s FCPA prosecution unit, after which Mr. Covington entered private practice. Mr. Covington has successfully represented hundreds of corporate clients in FCPA internal investigations, government investigations, and compliance matters, in countries ranging from Albania to Zimbabwe. He has counseled clients on post-violation remediation, guided them in establishing and maintaining compliance programs, and advised on third-party due diligence and contracting issues. Mr. Covington served by appointment of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and International Development Association (World Bank) as the Independent Compliance Monitor for SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., with a mandate to review and evaluate the company’s global anti-corruption compliance program. Mr. Covington, Iris Bennett and Carlos Grover have served as Counsel to the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras), a Committee formed to provide independent oversight of the Company’s internal investigation and remediation in connection with the “Lava Jato” matter. Click here for a link to the press release announcing the formation of the Special Committee.

Mr. Covington also has two decades of experience with the False Claims Act (FCA) and its qui tam provisions.  He has investigated and litigated numerous FCA cases, identifying and implementing strategies to resolve these cases. He has represented corporate and individual clients involving a range of other federal statutes and regulations, including those governing conflicts of interest, procurement integrity, and anti-competitive behavior.  Mr. Covington is also well-versed in the mandatory and voluntary disclosure obligations of government contractors and has represented numerous clients in those matters.  

Mr. Covington has represented companies before government agencies including the Department of Justice Civil and Criminal Divisions, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Special Investigator General for Afghan Reconstruction, and other investigatory bodies as well as suspension and debarment officials. 

Mr. Covington is AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer recognition for ethical standards and legal ability.  In 2012, Mr. Covington was named a DC SuperLawyer in White Collar Defense.  Before his legal career, he served in the United States Army in combat in Vietnam and received a Purple Heart. 


University of Virginia School of Law, J.D.,1973
University of Virginia, B.A. History, 1968

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia, 1986
Commonwealth of Virginia, 1978
State of Arizona, 1974

Court Admissions

U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, 1986
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, 1978
U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 1974

Representative Matters


Leading an internal investigation for a major financial services corporation into allegations of corruption in Southeast Asia. The representation included extensive counseling on compliance and examination of the company’s internal controls.

Leading a corporate internal investigation for a major client into improper payment activity in North Africa. The representation included advice on remediation, counseling to improve the company’s internal controls, and guidance on implementation of a robust compliance program.

Leading a corporate internal investigation into activities in the Middle East. Mr. Covington counseled the client on remediation, disciplinary action, enhancement of the company’s compliance program, and testing of internal controls. He then represented the client in a voluntary disclosure to the DOJ and subsequent cooperation with the government in its investigation, and in settling the matter with the Department.

Representation of a major client in connection with an inquiry by an Asian governmental authority into transactions between the Company and an agent in that country in 2008. Mr. Covington conducted an internal investigation and provided guidance on a resolution strategy.

Leading an internal investigation for a multinational client into potential improper payments involving a sales representative in Brazil and counseling the company on remediation, including personnel action.

Representation of a corporate client responding to a corruption investigation by an Asian prosecuting authority in 2007. Mr. Covington led an internal investigation of the transactions involved and assisted the client in addressing appropriate remedial actions. He counseled the client on a strategy to resolve the matter with the foreign authorities.

Beginning in 2006, Mr. Covington led a corporate internal investigation for a major client in Asia, Africa, and South America, including guidance on remedial actions, disclosure decisions, and counseling on the company’s compliance program.

From late 2005 to 2009, Mr. Covington conducted a corporate internal investigation and voluntary disclosure for a mining company client on an FCPA matter in Bolivia. The work included a redesign of the company’s compliance program, guidance on disciplinary steps, and resolution of the matter with the SEC.


Leading an internal investigation and compliance program review, assessment and remediation for overseas operations of a major international client, spanning 9 sub-Saharan African countries.

Serving as compliance counsel for a large multinational client, providing ongoing counseling services and conducting FCPA due diligence for acquisitions or business partners located in Myanmar, Uganda, Kenya, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Representation of a major international client in responding to a DOJ inquiry into the adequacy of the company’s response to certain media reports alleging corrupt activities in Eastern Europe. In the course of the representation, Mr. Covington evaluated the company’s internal investigation and tested the company’s efforts to bolster their compliance program.

Leading an intensive onsite compliance audit at an overseas location of a major multinational client. This compliance review, conducted in cooperation with a large financial consulting firm, covered financial/accounting analysis; assessment of legal risks and adequacy of policy implementation; and conduct of foreign-language (Spanish) interviews. 

FCPA Counseling:

Representation of a small construction company in a grand jury investigation of possible corruption in Gabon being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The matter began with a search warrant executed at the client’s premises.

Counseling and guidance to a major American manufacturer on the legality of employing an elected official. Mr. Covington’s work included an assessment of internal controls and advice on remediation.

Representation of an international investment institution to provide advice and guidance on the adequacy of the company’s due diligence of third parties in several African countries.

Counseling and guidance to a major client on FCPA-related money laundering issues arising out of the sale of goods to customers in an African country in 2006.



Author, Practicing Under the U.S. Anti-Corruption Laws, Aspen Book Publishers, 2013 Edition, May 2013

"Signs of Life in International Anti-bribery Enforcement - Recent Enforcement of Anti-bribery Laws Outside the U.S. and Issues to Consider for a Multi-jurisdictional Defense Strategy," Bloomberg Law Reports: Corporate Law, May 4, 2009

"No Cash Required: The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Corporate Risk," Ethisphere, Quarter 3, 2008

"Your Company's Response to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations: How to Establish an Effective Compliance Program," The Lawyer's Brief, October 31, 1992

"The Government Contractor's Guide to the Law of Eavesdropping," Federal Contracts Report, September 09, 1988

"Corporate Employees' Entitlement to Use Immunity," Federal Contracts Report, April 27, 1987

Speaking Engagements

"Doing Business in Bad Neighborhoods: Tips and Challenges for Staying on the Right Side of the FCPA," Litigation Department Spotlight Live Seminar Series Event CLE Seminar, Chicago, IL, September 29, 2010

Panelist, "Doing Business in Bad Neighborhoods: Tips and Challenges for Staying on the Right Side of the FCPA," Litigation Department Spotlight Live Seminar Series Event CLE Seminar, Washington, DC, April 28, 2010

Panelist, "Current Developments under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act," DC Bar, Washington, DC, April 01, 2009

Panelist, "FCPA Enforcement Under the Obama Administration? A Look Ahead…” American Bar Association Anti- Corruption Committee, Washington, DC, January 30, 2009

Speaker, International Bar Association 2008 Annual Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 12, 2008

"No Cash Required: The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Corporate Risk," Ethisphere Webcast, September 29, 2008
InsideCounsel and Jenner & Block's Eighth Annual SuperConference, Chicago, IL, May 20, 2008

"Practical Guide to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act," DC Bar, Washington, DC, May 05, 2008

“Introduction to International Arbitration,” International Bar Association Annual Conference, Singapore, October 14, 2007
Panelist, “Current Developments in FCPA Enforcement and Compliance Efforts: DOJ, SEC and Private Bar,” DC Bar, Washington, DC, September 27, 2007

Moderator, “The Next Big Risks: The Crackdown on Corrupt Practices Abroad and Procurement Fraud at Home,”
Navigant Consulting, Inc. Legal Roundtable, Chicago, IL, June 27, 2007

“Dealing with the Difficulties of Export-Control Compliance,” Aerospace Industries Association Legal Committee Meeting, Arlington, VA, June 21, 2007

Awards and Recognition

Washington DC Super Lawyers, Criminal Defense: White Collar – 2012

Mr. Covington is AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer recognition for ethical standards and legal ability. Prior to his professional career, he served in combat in Vietnam and received a purple heart. Earlier in his career, Mr. Covington acquired substantial FCPA experience as a trial attorney in the Multinational Branch of the Justice Department’s Criminal Fraud Section and later as Chief of the Justice Department’s international fraud enforcement component.