Under U.S. anti-bribery laws, U.S. citizens, nationals, residents, and businesses are prohibited from giving a corrupt payment to a foreign government official for the purpose of influencing a decision of the official in his or her official capacity. Specifically, a “corrupt payment” is the payment of money or an offer or promise to give anything of value to influence the official in his or her official capacity, to influence the official to violate his or her lawful duty, or to seek an improper advantage. Under the law, even making an offer of payment, as long as it is made with the intent to influence, obtain improper advantage, or induce improper influence, is all that is required for a violation. Even if the official refuses to accept the benefit, or accepts the benefit but does not take the desired action, it is still a violation. The anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA have applied to all U.S. persons and certain foreign issuers of securities. The anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA also apply to foreign firms and persons who cause, directly or through agents, an act in furtherance of such a corrupt payment to take place within the territory of the United States.
There are limited exceptions for common business practices, however. For example, paying the costs of a foreign official to travel to a plant for a plant visit may be legal. In addition, certain payments transmitted as part of a routine government action may be allowed. Because the exceptions are extremely limited, companies should be proactive to investigate whether such payments could violate U.S. anti-bribery laws. The SEC and DOJ jointly publish an FCPA resource guide that further explain FCPA standards.
Building a Strong FCPA Program
Does your business have a strong FCPA compliance program? Or does the strength of your FCPA compliance program need to be reviewed and audited?
Diaz Trade Law, P.A. offers a number of services pertaining to FCPA compliance, including:
- Auditing your company’s operations and building a strong FCPA compliance plan that reflects your organization
- Reviewing your existing FCPA compliance plan to ensure that it’s strong and reflects the latest changes to anti-corruption laws
- Training your employees in avoiding FCPA violations
- Establishing clear lines of responsibility to determine how potential violations are proactively addressed
- Representing your firm in mitigating penalties and reaching settlements with federal agencies after violations have occurred
- Creating corrective action plans so that violations don’t occur again
If you have questions about your firm’s FCPA compliance plan or are interested in scheduling a training, reach out to us at email@example.com or call us at 305-456-3830.
For information on Diaz Trade Law’s FCPA and export compliance services, check out our relevant articles and webinars:
- Goldman Sachs Pays $2.9 Billion in FCPA Settlement
- The Importance of Regular Export Compliance Training for your Business
- Does Dirty Money Infiltrate your Market Place?
- Introduction to Export Controls
Want more information on FCPA compliance? Read more here.