U.S. companies, but also corporations in France, the United Kingdom, and Germany paid over one Billion U.S. Dollars in fines or settlements for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has reported over 140 investigations for FCPA violations in 2009 alone.
Compliance officers, Executives and Political Figures charged with FCPA violations, have been fined and jailed in the process of ongoing
investigations. Complying with FCPA requirements has become an essential risk management element for any corporation, inside and outside the United States. Hidden risks in the form of undetected payments to Foreign Officials pose a substantial risk for any executive and endanger the overall success of your organization.
Emerging trends in the FCPA enforcement patterns include:
- Aggressive and potentially controversial interpretations of the FCPA in enforcement actions by the SEC and DOJ against individuals and corporations;
- Foreign Anti Bribery rules in the OECD Convention and other international treaties, have increased the risk of parallel investigations and enforcement proceedings
- The authorities continue to emphasize the importance of due diligence on third parties as a critical internal control.
An estimated 3 billion dollars were lost due to corruption in 2009. These funds could have helped improve the lives of millions around the
world while contributing in the fight against corruption and bribery.
The FCPA is a US federal law enacted in 1977, prohibiting companies from paying bribes to foreign government officials and political figures. Companies violating this law by paying bribes are subject to criminal and civil actions, which can result in fines, suspension, and
exclusion from government procurement contracts, while the employees and directors can be subject to prison sentences.
The Act’s provisions also apply to foreign companies and nationals taking part in any such act while doing business in the U.S. The Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing the anti-bribery provisions, as it pertains to domestic as well as foreign companies.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is responsible for civil enforcement of the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.