With Wal-Mart Claims, Greater Attention On A Law

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Originally publish in The New York Times on April 25, 2012

A decade ago, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars American companies from bribing officials overseas, was rarely enforced or discussed. Today, it strikes fear throughout the executive offices of companies with overseas operations, generating huge fees for law firms and large fines for the federal government.

The transformation of the once-obscure law has been thrown into sharp relief by the allegation that one of the world's largest companies, Wal-Mart, suppressed an internal inquiry into bribery in Mexico in 2005. After details of the case were reported by The New York Times on Sunday, Wal-Mart stock tumbled.

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