The Biden administration has prioritized fighting corruption on a global scale, addressing it as a national security concern and focusing on accountability and financial transparency. With the heightened government oversight of this initiative, corporations should be cautious in their dealings with suppliers and customers in foreign countries, especially those with connections to foreign governments.
On December 6, 2021, the Biden administration released the first-ever United States Strategy on Countering Corruption, aiming to prevent corrupt actors from using the United States and international financial systems to hide assets and launder money. The result of a 200-day review conducted by more than a dozen government agencies to improve the government’s ability to prevent, combat, and punish corruption, this strategy is organized under five pillars:
- Modernizing, coordinating, and resourcing U.S. Government efforts to fight corruption: Law enforcement resources will be increased, including enhanced information sharing with the intelligence community. Intelligence collection and analysis will focus on corrupt actors and their networks.
- Curbing illicit finance: Transparency regulations will identify bad actors who seek to hide behind corporate structures and reveal when real estate transactions are used to hide assets or launder money.
- Holding corrupt actors accountable: Efforts will be increased to support and defend people who expose corruption, such as investigative journalists. A kleptocracy asset recovery rewards program will be established to allow the government to recover stolen foreign assets held at United States financial institutions.
- Preserving and strengthening the multilateral anti-corruption architecture: The United States will work with leading countries to create transparency and target corruption in finance, acquisition, and human resources.
- Improving diplomatic engagement and leveraging foreign assistance resources to achieve anti-corruption policy goals: Criteria for government-to-government assistance will be reevaluated and risk management processes will be improved so government assistance does not unknowingly support corrupt actors.
Under these new guidelines, the threat of corruption will be addressed as a national security concern. Federal departments and agencies will provide annual reports to the President. To read the Fact Sheet published by the White House, click here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/12/06/fact-sheet-u-s-strategy-on-countering-corruption/
With the heightened government oversight of this initiative, corporations should be cautious in their dealings with suppliers and customers in foreign countries, especially those with connections to foreign governments.