FCPA Guidance: Déjà Vu All Over Again

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On November 14, 2012, the long-awaited U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) guidance (the “Guidance”) was released. Styled “A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” this 120-page document represents DOJ’s and the SEC’s effort to answer critics of the Act and to clarify their interpretation of key provisions of the Act and the principles guiding their enforcement efforts.

Despite its length, the Guidance offers little that is new. Not surprisingly, the Guidance repeats DOJ’s and the SEC’s long-held interpretation of the FCPA. The Guidance does, however, serve as an excellent resource as to how DOJ and the SEC are likely to enforce the Act, providing useful checklists and hypotheticals that help shore up the boundaries of what does or does not violate the FCPA, at least in the agencies’ opinions. As such, companies are well-advised to review the Guidance and tweak their anti-corruption compliance programs accordingly.

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