Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’
The U.S. Justice Department and the Securities Exchange Commission continues its aggressive enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and its pursuit of U.S. companies who bribe or attempt to bribe “foreign officials” or “instrumentalities of foreign governments.” Just this past Friday, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, an international gambling empire, informed the Securities and Exchange Commission that, based upon an internal investigation of its operations, it likely violated a federal law against bribing foreign officials. A few days earlier, the Kimco Realty Corporation, a real estate investment trust specializing in shopping centers, disclosed that it had been served with a subpoena from the S.E.C. as part of the investigation into foreign bribery by Wal-Mart in its Mexican subsidiary and elsewhere. That investigation came about after extensive reporting in The New York Times by David Barstow and Alexandra Xanic von Bertrab about tactics used by Walmart de Mexico to gain approval to build stores in Mexico.
On July 1, 2011 the new United Kingdom Bribery Act came into force. Because of the wide jurisdictional reach of that Act, any company or person(s) with any substantive contacts with the U.K. should understand how the Act may affect your business.
The Act revises the bribery laws in the U.K., now making it a crime for a person to offer, give or promise to give a “financial or other advantage” to another individual in exchange for “improperly” performing a “relevant function or activity.”
The United States government has moved to vigorously enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act over the past several years and this has profound implications for companies working overseas.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 788dd-1(a) (the “Act” or “FCPA”) prohibits “corrupt” offers of any kind of payment to a foreign official when the payment is for obtaining or retaining business. The Act has exempted “grease” payments, that is, small payments to, for example, expedite paperwork at a port or to speed the clearance of goods shipped.