DOJ/SEC Release Unprecedented Guidance on the FCPA

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Yesterday, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) released their much anticipated and long overdue guidance on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”): A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “Resource Guide” or “Guide”). The 120-page inter-agency Guide is in its own words an “unprecedented undertaking,” representing the first time the government has provided a thorough analysis of the FCPA, clarifying information that had been previously scattered across a collection of informal opinions and judicial decisions. The Guide provides comprehensive information, including practical tips, to assist companies as they navigate the very fact-specific FCPA enforcement scheme.

While offering no bright-line rules on the FCPA, the Guide repeatedly highlights the need for companies to take a proactive, risk-based approach to stamp out corruption and effectively puts companies and their counsel on notice that there is a new, higher expectation of FCPA awareness. Indeed, in his brief remarks yesterday, SEC Director Robert Khuzami promised “vigorous prosecution of those who break the law [and] an equally vigorous effort to enable those who seek to abide by the law.”

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