An effective anti-corruption program is important for any company covered by Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), which bars American companies from bribing officials overseas.
The World Bank and its partners have released the “Anti-Corruption Ethics and Compliance Handbook for Business,” billed as a new resource developed by companies, for companies. (Available at http://www.oecd.org/g20/topics/anti-corruption/anti-corruption-ethics-and-compliance-handbook-for-business.htm.) The Handbook attempts to define best anti-corruption practices, identifying 12 recognized “main anti-bribery elements” and illustrating each in practice. To minimize exposure and develop a robust compliance program, the Handbook recommends: (1) establishing a risk assessment process, (2) identifying certain risk factors, (3) rating inherent risks, (4) identifying and rating mitigating efforts, (5) calculating the residual risk, and (6) developing an action plan.
Every organization facing FCPA risk should review the Handbook, as well as public Department of Justice settlement agreements (e.g., Deferred Prosecution Agreements and Non-Prosecution Agreements), DOJ Press Releases, DOJ opinion procedure releases, and A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, published jointly by DOJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission in November 2012.
The SEC and DOJ, which have obtained hundreds of millions in penalties, promise to continue pursuing violations of the FCPA aggressively against both companies and individuals. The SEC’s Andrew Ceresney, Co-Director of the Division of Enforcement, warned employers in his Keynote Address at the International Conference on the FCPA, “obey the FCPA, and ensure that your employees are sensitive to FCPA issues, or face stiff penalties and other consequences.”