The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

654 WordsApr 28, 20123 Pages
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 and the corresponding amendments set forth by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 and Amendments of 1998 have tremendous ramifications for U.S. multinational companies at large, their subsidiaries, and foreign partners. While the main purpose of the original policy was to make it “unlawful to bribe foreign government officials to obtain or retain business”, the many statutes, their exceptions, and enforcement have gone through several iterations and most recently expanded jurisdiction of the law to non-U.S. territories. In bribery cases, several conditions involving the perpetrator, intent of the act, and the recipient of the bribe,…show more content…
of Justice, Lay-Person’s Guide). In regard to corruption and bribery by U.S. companies and their agents conducting business overseas, the State Department claims that the U.S. “has been a leader in the multinational effort to end bribery and corruption in international practices, a campaign... supported by the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and other multilateral organizations and institutions” (U.S. Dept. of State). This statement clearly demonstrates that the need to address and deter corruption and bribery in the international business environment is recognized as an important initiative, worth pursuing and requiring the cooperation of many nations. Even though it took the U.S. nearly ten years to bring thirty-three countries on board to take part in a multinational anti-bribery initiative, they did so by signing the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (US Dept. of Justice, Lay-Person’s Guide). The sanctions that are in place to punish noncompliance with the FCPA, including criminal and civil penalties, exist in the form of imprisonment and fines, and those sanctions are severe. Criminally, penal fines can reach up to $2 million or even exceed that amount in exceptional circumstances. These substantial fines are imposed on the individual and payable only by the individual, thus

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