If the best time to fix a leaky roof is when the sun is shining, then the best time to fix gaps in a compliance program is prior to an enforcement deluge. What follows is our view of the key areas that will garner more attention from compliance professionals in 2013.
1. Government contractors face the new executive order on trafficking. As previously discussed, President Obama on Sept. 25, 2012, signed his landmark executive order aiming to eradicate trafficking from all federal contracts and subcontracts.
4. Non-U.S. anti-corruption enforcement ramps up. Although the U.S. accounts for some 75 percent of the world’s foreign anti-bribery actions, and will almost certainly continue to lead the world in these prosecutions, other nations, including the U.K., China and India, have in recent years fortified their laws and their enforcement outlooks. As a result, we anticipate foreign enforcers stepping up their game and requiring more attention by compliance professionals.
5. “Carbon copy” prosecutions emerge as a new global trend. “Carbon copy prosecutions,” a term fully developed in a recent University of Chicago Legal Forum article, refers to successive, duplicative prosecutions by multiple sovereigns for conduct transgressing the laws of several nations, but arising out of the same facts.
7. Conflict minerals rules enforcement begins. This “prediction” is perhaps our least remarkable, in that Aug. 22, 2012’s final rules specify that companies subject to these new rules will be required to comply beginning Jan. 1. The first report on Form SD will be due May 31, 2014 (and annually thereafter).
8. Anti-smuggling provisions’ potential is tapped. Against the backdrop of ever-intensifying efforts to fight human trafficking lies a pair of powerful, little-known (and almost never associated) statutes—18 U.S.C. § 545 (prohibiting certain categories of smuggling) and 19 U.S.C. § 1307 (prohibiting importation of products made by forced labor). Read in tandem, the statutes provide that, if a person or company is found in mere possession of the smuggled products, there automatically is a rebuttable presumption of guilty knowledge (and it then is up to the accused to prove otherwise). With a potential sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, forfeiture of goods and significant financial penalties, 2013 could well be the year these statutes are taken out of mothballs.