Despite what many would consider a severe blow to their efforts earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") have demonstrated that they are unrelenting in their pursuit to aggressively enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA"). As a result, companies and their employees should be wary of doing business without a FCPA compliance and training program in place.
The FCPA makes it unlawful for U.S. companies and their subsidiaries, U.S. individuals, foreign securities issuers, and foreign companies and individuals, who act within the U.S., to make payments to foreign government officials to obtain or retain business. Since the FCPA was enacted in 1977, the SEC and DOJ focused FCPA efforts on collecting civil and criminal fines, typically in excess of $100 million, against corporate defendants for bribes made to foreign officials. In the last couple of years, however, the DOJ began to criminally prosecute the officers and employees of the companies that had been involved in the alleged bribes. Facing potential imprisonment, a number of defendants took their cases totrial against the DOJ.
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