Blog Posts: fcpa
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) makes it illegal for U.S. companies to bribe foreign officials in order to get business. The Department of Justice (DOJ) can impose criminal fines on both businesses and individuals, including officers, directors and employees. Individuals are also subject to imprisonment for up to five years. In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission can bring civil lawsuits against businesses and individuals.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has asked the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission for business guidance on how corporations can comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The request comes on the heels of a federal judge's dismissal with prejudice of the largest-ever FCPA enforcement case against individuals because of questionable tactics prosecutors used to pursue what the judge called a "very aggressive conspiracy theory."
Governments on both sides of the Atlantic are cracking down on corporate corruption. In the United States, the government imposed $1.8 billion in fines on 23 companies in 2010 for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). In the UK, there is a push to use the high fines imposed under the FCPA as the "starting point" for fines to be imposed under the new UK Bribery Act.
An international probe of News Corporation and its leaders demonstrates the broad scope of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The FCPA investigation follows more than 100 civil claims that threaten to topple the Rupert Murdoch media empire.
The United States Justice Department (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sent a loud, clear message to U.S. companies in 2011: Get your ethical house in order or face enforcement action under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits payments or offers to foreign officials in order to obtain, direct or retain business. However, the FCPA allows so-called “grease payments” to foreign officials or agencies that help expedite routine processing and paperwork. A recent review of Fortune 500 companies’ public codes of conduct found that 68 of them allow these grease payments – usually requiring prior approval – while 48 prohibit or strongly discourage them. Fully 373 fail to mention them altogether, suggesting that such payments are at least tacitly allowed.
According to a recent survey released by The Network, Inc., fraud-related incidents in the workplace are on the rise: The total number of reported fraud-related incidents increased by 18.3% compared to the second quarter of 2010.
A recent bribery case is a reminder of the importance of robust anti-corruption and FCPA compliance training to U.S. companies with foreign subsidiaries.
It’s Official: “Foreign Officials” under the FCPA May Include Officers of Foreign State-Owned Utilities
A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that the definition of “foreign officials” in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) could extend to officers of state-owned utilities (United States v. Lindsey Manufacturing Co.). The ruling clears the path to a criminal trial.
In a number of recent speeches, the head of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Lanny Breuer, has described the DOJ's focus on FCPA enforcement as "stronger than it's ever been — and getting stronger." In 2010, the total number of FCPA enforcement actions rose significantly over the number in the previous year — from 45 actions against companies and individuals in 2009 to 76 actions in 2010.