A New Tool for Anti-Bribery Compliance Program: ISO 37001

October 25, 2016

Recently, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) adopted a new set of standards, designated as ISO 37001, to assist organizations in their ongoing fight against bribery.  As a result of recent increases in the enforcement of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) and, notwithstanding the guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (Guide), for-profit and not-for-profit organizations continue to seek greater clarity when establishing and maintaining their anti-bribery compliance programs.  By developing a set of standards that adopts best practices in the area of anti-bribery compliance across industries, and organization types and sizes, ISO 37001’s adoption may assist organizations in their development and implementation of stronger anti-bribery compliance programs.

FCPA and the Guide

The FCPA makes it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials in furtherance of obtaining or retaining business.  More specifically, the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA prohibit payments to foreign officials to obtain or retain business, while the accounting provisions require issuers to make and keep accurate books and records, and to maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls.  The anti-bribery provisions not only apply to all U.S. persons and certain foreign issuers of securities, they also apply to foreign firms and persons who cause, directly or through agents, an act in furtherance of a corrupt payment to take place within the U.S.

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