Managing the risk of a relationship with a foreign business partner is one of the most critical aspects of a FCPA compliance program. The documented risk for the potential violation of the FCPA by a foreign business partner to a company is quite high. To engage a foreign business partner, in a manner that properly assesses and manages the risk to, and for, a company, requires a committee of time, money and substantial effort. However, with a compliance based risk management procedure in place, the risk can be properly managed and a foreign business relationship can be successful for all parties.

The facts reported to date in the matter of Schlumberger and its (now former) foreign business partner, Zonic, demonstrate how ongoing oversight of an agent after a contract is signed is a critical component of a robust, best-practices FCPA compliance program. Even a foreign business partner, which may have raised Red Flags, enters into a contractual relationship with a company, such a relationship can be managed going forward. A Foreign Business Relationship Oversight Committee and a Relationship Manager provide additional levels of review which can be utilized to demonstrate ongoing compliance. These concepts should be incorporated into any current FCPA compliance program to assist in fulfilling the overall goals of any company’s program.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Thomas Fox, Compliance Evangelist | Attorney Advertising

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