Since the beginning of 2014, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed more than six cases involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has commenced two enforcement actions. In April, April the SEC and the DOJ announced settlements with Hewlett Packard Co. (HP) for alleged violations of the FCPA. As part of the settlement, a Russian subsidiary of HP admitted it paid bribes to obtain a technology contract with the Russian government. The settlement reportedly will cost HP $76.8 million in criminal penalties.
The FCPA prohibits U.S. companies from bribing foreign government officials. The improper acts can include non‑monetary “favors” or items that traditionally may have been considered “gifts.” The U.S. government is attempting to draw a line between appropriate practices and illegal activities.