On August 8, Stanley R. Soya, Partner, Pepper Hamilton LLP, moderated
a panel entitled “The Expanded Reach of the Ubiquitous Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” at the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada. Panelists included current and former prosecutors from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. A paper submitted by Mr. Soya to accompany the panel, entitled “Overseas Bribery Prosecutions Continue to Grow: Global Corruption Risk Requires Global Complance,” provides an assessment of the risks that businesses face when working overseas and highlights recent high-profile FCPA enforcement actions.
Prosecution of overseas bribery continues to grow worldwide. When the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) was passed over thirty years ago, the United States stood alone in outlawing bribery payments to foreign government officials. Since that time a series of international conventions have come into force in which member nations have agreed to criminalize bribery of foreign public officials and officials of public agencies and public international organizations.
The enhanced enforcement climate is continuing to grow. The UK anti Bribery Act went into effect on July 1, 2011. The UK Ministry of Justice previously issued “Guidance about procedures which relevant commercial organisations can put into place to prevent persons associated with them from bribing.”
Canada has established two dedicated anti corruption units within the Royal Canadian Mounted police to focus on foreign bribery and corruption investigations. Russia recently joined the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and China recently criminalized corruption of foreign public officials. Company executives navigating the challenges of international business have taken note of high-profile prosecutions brought recently under the FCPA, and of the risks from the actions of their own personnel and business partners in foreign markets.
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