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DOJ and SEC Release New Guidance on Complying With the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Volume 11, Issue 9
December 5, 2012

Since its passage into law in 1977, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the federal law prohibiting United States citizens, residents, and companies from bribing foreign officials to gain a commercial advantage, has drawn much criticism for its broad scope and vague terminology.  Companies engaging in business abroad and struggling to meet their FCPA compliance obligations have long sought both legislative reform and clear enforcement guidance.  In response to such concerns, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently released a 120-page publication called "A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act" (Guide).

The Guide provides a detailed analysis of the FCPA and a close examination of the DOJ's and SEC's approaches to enforcement.  With valuable input from the U.S. Departments of Commerce and State, the Guide addresses a wide variety of topics, including who and what is covered by the FCPA's anti-bribery and accounting provisions; the definition of a "foreign official;" what constitute proper and improper gifts, travel and entertainment expenses; and the different types of civil and criminal resolutions available under the FCPA.  It also uses hypotheticals, examples of enforcement actions and matters DOJ and SEC have declined to pursue, and summaries of applicable case law and DOJ opinions.

For any Nevada employer doing business abroad or contemplating entering a foreign market, the Guide is a "must read."

Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.