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Corporate Corruption and Bribery

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

The Bribery of foreign officials by US corporations to influence decisions of foreign officials, foreign political parties, or candidates for political office is occurring with greater frequency Bribes are often given to ensure favorable actions by foreign governments Involving but not limited to the following industries: Drugs and Health Care Oil and Gas Production/Services Food Products Aerospace, Airlines and Air Services Chemicals

US Companies Involved in Overseas Bribery

Dow Chemical Xerox (India) Tyco (Venezuela) Accenture (Middle East) IBM (South Korea) Monsanto Titan Enron
Just to name a few

Not Just a US Problem

May 1, 2003 and April 30, 2004 the global competition for contracts worth up to $18 billion may have been affected by bribes by foreign firms of foreign officials- Report from the US Department of Commerce A global survey by Price Waterhouse Coopers in 2003 found that 49% of companies surveyed were required to offer or pay a bribe at least four times

The Detriments of Bribery

Unethical- The payments of bribes conflicts with the moral expectations and values of US citizens Bad for Business- Bribery erodes publics confidence in the integrity of the free market. Bribery also gives those businesses with inefficient operations an unfair competitive advantage

Unnecessary- We find in every industry where bribes have been revealed that companies of equal size are proclaiming that they see no need to engage in such practices Former SEC Chairman Roderick Hills
Foreign Policy Problems- The disclosure of US bribes lowers the esteem for the US among foreign nationals, embarrasses allied governments and suggests that US enterprises exert a corrupt influence on foreign political processes

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Enacted in 1977 to prevent the corporate bribery of foreign officials Prohibits both the US and foreign corporations and nationals from paying or offering anything of value to a foreign political party, foreign government official, candidate for foreign public office, or an official of a public international organization in an attempt to obtain or retain business Main Parts Requires corporations to keep accurate books, records, and accounts Requires issuers registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission to maintain a responsible internal accounting control system Prohibits bribery by US corporations of foreign officials

History of FCPA Legislation

-Consideration began during the 94th Congress -Based extensively on the Report on Questionable and Illegal Corporate Payments and Practices issued by the SEC May 12, 1976 -September 21 and 22, the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Finance held hearings on numerous bills that should to prohibit these payments
*Revealed the widespread practice of questionable corporate foreign payments

*HR 15481; HR 13870; HR 13953; S 3664 *due to end of session pressures, the Subcommittee was unable to report prior to adjournment -Continued in the 95th Congress -April 20 and 21, 1977 *focused on HR 1602 and HR 3815 -Full committee reported the bill on September 20, 1977

Key Provisions
Provide criminal penalties for US businesses found to use mail or interstate commerce corruptly in order to further an offer or payment of anything of value to a foreign official to influence the person in their decision making to obtain or retain business Prohibits the payment of money to any person by a business if the business knew that the payment was to be used to bribe a foreign official to influence business cooperation Requires companies with publicly traded stock in the US to practice required accounting, books, records internal controls Exclusions The definition of foreign official excludes foreign government employees whose duties are essentially ministerial or clerical The Act is not intended to cover grease payments (payments made to expedite shipments, secure required permits, obtain adequate police protection, etc) Extortions of money by foreign officials may be used as defense against charges of bribery by a business if either its property or the lives of its employees are threatened

Section 2 regarding the prohibition against certain payments to officials by registered companies was made to amend the Securities and Exchange act of 1934. The SEC is therefore to retain investigative jurisdiction over this matter due to their relatively easy access to reporting companies books and filings

Parties Involved
-Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) -Justice Department

US Corporations (Public and Private)

-Bristol-Myers; Exxon Mobil; Daimler Chrysler; IBM; Halliburton; Syncor; Monsanto; Titan; etc

Companies with stock publicly traded in the US

Increased Enforcement
Due to recent increases in global mergers and acquisitions as well as increasing revelations of corporate bribery and corruption instances, FCPA enforcement levels have reached record highs. The number of enforcement actions is likely to increase further in upcoming years as the US government shifts additional resources into this area

Dissuades Export Trade- The grey areas that exist within the legislation regarding what is and is not permissible have led many corporations to cease foreign operations rather than face uncertainties Remove the Reason to Know Standard- Removing the standard concerning the liability for actions of a specific business agent while in a foreign country would eliminate the legal responsibility of the management of a domestic firm over the unauthorized actions of the agent

Too Costly- The internal accounting controls mandated by the Act were too burdensome and costly on domestic firms. Failure to implement these controls made officials unnecessarily cautions
Questionable Exports- In some nations, acceptance of a fee of payment by a government official from a business is customary. If the US makes this payment illegal, it appears that we are more concerned with exporting our cultural biases rather than our products Ambiguities- Defendants have been able to claim there is no prohibition of bribes intended to reduce customs duties or tax obligations

Are U.S. Companies Disadvantaged in World Trade by the FCPA?

If US businesses are restricted from bribery while foreign businesses are not, does this result in an major disadvantage for US businesses in global competition


International Anti-Corruption Agreements

OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions Adopted November 1, 1997 UN United Nations Convention Against Corruption Adopted September 29, 2003 WB Anti-Corruption Program (through good governance)

International Enforcement

Lack of enforcement by OECD and UN

Lack of compliance with the [OECD] conventions provisions continues to hinder corruption investigations and prosecutions.

Transparency International

OECD convention is the strongest international convention against corruption to date



Lack of or Partial Implementation by Domestic Governments

Continued corruption in some OECD countries Lack of enforcement domestically Degree of Punishment possible


Status of Worldwide Corruption


Non-OECD Countries

OECD convention only signed by the 37 members and 5 non-members

What about all the other non-OECD countries? Incentives to companies to operate in nonOECD countries to escape FCPA restrictions?

Impacts of major new trading centersSingapore, China, etc.


Policy Proposal

Bi-lateral and Multi-lateral Agreements World Trade Organization (WTO)

DSU offers some recourse for implementation Doha Agenda

the topic of building an "anti-corruption" strategy more explicitly was raised (by
Transparency International representative Eigen)

Current issues facing the Doha Round



Addressing bribery, and with it its detrimental economic, social and political effectscould, further enhance the development opportunities and outcome.

WTO, Development Opportunities from Doha

****************************************** Corruption and bribery are trade distortions. To level the playing field it is necessary for all countries to cooperate to eliminate corruption.

Works Cited

Congressional Research Service. CRS Report to Congress: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development. The OECD

Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Officials in International Business Transactions.,2340,en_2649_34859_2017813_1_1_1_1, 00.html Transparency International. Corruption Perceptions Index 2007. United Nations. United Nations Convention Against Corruption. United States Department of Justice. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. World Bank. Governance and Anti-Corruption., ,contentMDK:20672500~menuPK:1740553~pagePK:64168445~piPK:64168309~th eSitePK:1740530,00.html World Trade Organization. The Doha Development Agenda and Beyond. (April 29, 2002). a.doc