More FBI Agents Planned to Tackle FCPA Investigations in Several US Cities – Is Your Anti-corruption Program Ready?

30bdf28By Stephanie Gallagher, JD

The Department of Justice announced, at the ABA White Collar Conference in New Orleans last week, that the FBI will be increasing its resources to expand its anti-corruption efforts. These efforts include increasing FBI personnel presence in several US cities to identify and investigate potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations.

With more agents covering more ground, and an increased spotlight on FCPA violations, companies should consider whether they are prepared with adequate compliance policies and procedures to prevent FCPA violations, and respond to inquiries of possible violations. Companies will want to look not only domestically to evaluate their programs, policies, and due diligence practices, but globally as well. Last year, a record breaking $1.25 billion was collected in FCPA violations, a sobering statistic that should not be taken lightly.

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  1. I read today in a news brief that the FBI was adding three teams of agents, each with 30 agents, with the specific task of FCPA enforcement. What gets me about all this is whether it is actually unethical to pay bribes to get business.

    Ethics are determined mainly by the democratic process. If the majority says something is wrong, then all should accept it and get on board. Another way to look at it is to say ethics is the rules of our society. However, humans are not perfect and hypocrisy often plays a big part in making those rules. You know the old saying, “do as say, not as I do.” So, the majority says they want all business transactions to be fair and honest but they do not follow what they say. What if the majority actually conduct their business in what they say is an unethical manner. Does that actually mean that making bribes to get business is how the majority acts so it is actually ethical to conduct your business in that manner?

    Or there are those that say bribes are wrong but if the other guys are going to do it then I have to do it to stay competitive. Again, if not everyone is on board, it does not work.

    Morality says fair and honest trade is the way to go, compliance says do not bribe or else. However, bribery is in the headlines every day and is big business for the regulators. I am not sure that bribery is unethical in our society. And for the FBI, it is simply supply and demand. Wouldn’t it be great if the FBI could put those 90 agents on cybercrimes or anti-terrorism?

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