Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Guide Issued by DOJ and SEC

November 2012

On November 14, 2012, the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission issued A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Although this resource breaks no new ground, it offers useful guidance to help lawyers and clients alike understand the government’s interpretation of the FCPA.

Background

Congress enacted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA” or “Act”) in 1977, but it remained an infrequently enforced statute until the last decade. Enforcement efforts by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) have increased dramatically in recent years, leading to fines of hundreds of millions of dollars in some cases. These eye-catching penalties have prompted multinationals to adopt compliance programs and extensively investigate allegations of corrupt practices, particularly bribery of officials of foreign governments or public international organizations, either directly by company employees or indirectly through third-party agents.

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