US Anti-Corruption Laws and Their InternationaI Reach

International Services | Prager Metis | Oct 15, 2019

As long as greed exists, so does corruption. To combat corruption, the US enacted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Its provisions prohibit offering, authorizing, or making payments of money or anything of value to influence the decision making of foreign government officials to obtain or retain business.

They also require the maintenance of accurate books and records and an adequate system of internal controls that would aid in the detection and prevention of FCPA violations.

The FCPA applies to issuers: companies that have securities registered with, or are required to file reports with, the US SEC; and domestic concerns: US residents, citizens, and companies whose principal places of business are in the US or that are organised under US laws. It is the FCPA’s international coverage that is not widely known.

The FCPA also applies to foreign issuers; US subsidiaries of foreign companies; foreign subsidiaries US companies; foreign citizens of who work for US companies; foreign persons or entities that directly or through an agent engage in acts furthering corrupt payments US territory; and foreign persons or entities acting as agents for issuers or domestic concerns.

It also applies to prohibited acts by issuers or domestic concerns while abroad and carried out, for example, by emails, phone texts, or wire transfers.

Since the FCPA’s jurisdiction only applies to foreign public corruption, the US Department of justice (DOJ) uses the Travel Act (TA), a federal criminal law, to complement the FCPA and extend its international reach to commercial bribery, which is bribery.


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