Demystifying the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (Part I)

The Guide provides a detailed analysis of the FCPA and closely examines the SEC and DOJ approach to FCPA enforcement

Background: A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

On Nov. 14, 2012, with input from the Departments of Commerce and State, the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “Guide”). Identified by DOJ and SEC leadership as an “unprecedented undertaking,” the 120-page Guide represents the agencies’ most significant attempt to date to clarify, aggregate and expand upon the guidance currently available regarding the agencies’ U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement approach and priorities. According to the SEC, the Guide provides a “detailed analysis” of the FCPA and closely examines “the SEC and DOJ approach to FCPA enforcement.”

Cultural and linguistic variables: Address them now, reduce risk

“Cultural variables” and “linguistic variables” are each broad concepts. Cultural variables might include differences in expectations between members of one culture and those of another. For instance, an individual in India might have a different understanding of what constitutes a common business practice than someone from the United States. Specifically, that individual, in part because India has ranked highly on the corruption index, might characterize bribes as a normal part of doing business. Further, individuals from certain cultures might respond differently to different types of training or presentation of information than persons from other cultures. As an example, because of their widespread familiarity with advanced technologies, individuals from certain geographic areas might be more comfortable receiving online training than individuals in other geographic locations, who might respond better to a face-to-face presentation. Cultural variables could also include variations of specific business or social customs (e.g., gift giving.)

Contributing Author

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Barry M. Sabin

Barry Sabin is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins, where his practice is focused on white collar criminal investigations and...

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Contributing Author

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Jason S. Perkins

Jason Perkins is the director of TransPerfect Legal Solutions’ (TLS) anti-corruption practice group. TLS is a member of the TransPerfect family of companies. Mr. Perkins...

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Joseph Bargnesi

Joseph Bargnesi is an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins. He has experience representing clients in complex civil litigation, white collar...

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