Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
U.S. companies seeking to do business in foreign markets must be aware of and familiar with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA.”). Generally, the FCPA prohibits corrupt payments – or bribes – to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or keeping business. The FCPA also applies to foreign persons who take any act in furtherance of such a corrupt payment while in the United States. The FCPA includes anti-bribery provisions as well as accounting and record-keeping requirements.
The anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA are enforced by the Department of Justice (DOJ). U.S. persons who are accused of violating the FCPA can defend their actions by showing that the payment they made is lawful in accordance with the written laws of the recipient’s country or that the payment they made is a reasonable expenditure directly related to the U.S. person’s promotional activities in the recipient's country. Penalties for violating the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA vary but can be very severe.
The accounting and record-keeping provisions of the FCPA apply to companies which are publicly traded in the U.S. These provisions make it a requirement for such companies to devise and maintain an accounting system which tightly controls and accurately records all dispositions of company assets. Penalties for violating the accounting and record-keeping provisions of the FCPA are the same penalties that apply to most other violations of the securities laws. These penalties include monetary fines but no criminal penalties.
If you are accused of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, contact Thorn Law Group’s Kevin E. Thorn today at 202 349-4033 for advice and counsel on your options.