Blog Posts: International Compliance
Speaking recently at the American Conference Institute’s 30th International Conference, US regulators highlighted the trend toward more vigorous international enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other anti-corruption laws. Representatives from both the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stated that more than 150 FCPA investigations are underway, noted new developments in cross-border cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment to prosecuting individuals as well as corporate entities.
Many parts of the world are like the Wild West when it comes to bribery and other forms of corruption — it's rough and tumble and anything goes. This is beginning to change, however slowly, due to the trend toward globalization of anti-corruption enforcement efforts.
Many perils await organizations whose employees lead them into the subterranean world of foreign bribery of public officials — and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is just one of them.
The Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (ITRA), which became effective earlier this year, requires companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to disclose in their annual or quarterly reports — among other things — any transactions or dealings involving Iran. Since February, companies have filed more than 400 of these disclosures, but so far none have resulted in any SEC-initiated enforcement actions.
A new study by the business intelligence firm Control Risks and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) found "disturbing gaps" in corporate policies designed to prevent and respond to bribery and corruption issues. The study, "International Business Attitudes to Corruption,"surveyed the general counsel, senior corporate attorneys and compliance heads of more than 300 companies.
The decision whether to self-report violations of the UK's Bribery Act 2010 can be a difficult one and the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is not making it any easier.
As the season of corporate gift giving approaches, compliance officers should be aware of the provision in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) that makes it illegal to bribe foreign officials for their business. Specifically, businesses cannot corruptly offer, promise, or give anything of value, directly or indirectly, to a foreign official for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. Thus, corporate gifts should be carefully considered to ensure they do not appear to violate these prohibitions.
The seventh edition of the Kroll Global Fraud Report found that corporate corruption is again on the rise after seeing lower numbers in its previous survey in 2012. The report found that 70% of responding companies were affected by fraud in the past 12 months, up from 61% in 2012. Researchers believe these statistics may be more connected to perception, however, than any true increase in fraud, pointing to a heightened awareness of the issue.
Amendments to Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA) include provisions granting officials nationality jurisdiction to take action based on extraterritorial conduct by Canadian nationals. These amendments add to the momentum gained by recent landmark cases and stronger enforcement measures by Canadian officials, making it appear Canada is prepared to take a more aggressive stance on foreign corruption.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is in the midst of waging a massive anti-corruption campaign in response to rampant complaints about graft, official misconduct and corporate malfeasance. The campaign has targeted both companies and government officials, regardless of their political affiliation.