Washington DC Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Lawyer
Stewart and Stewart
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits payments of any kind to foreign “officials” with the aim of securing or retaining business. U.S. directors, officers, and managers must exercise great care when dealing with foreign governments as well as when contracting with foreign consultants, representatives, or joint venture partners for any work that might involve external interfaces on their behalf because the FCPA strictly prohibits a wide range of exchanges and gifts. Moreover, the FCPA explicitly provides that U.S. persons and companies can be held liable for the acts of their representatives if they have reason to know that the representatives are making bribes on their behalf or even offering support, assistance, or other potential gifts to foreign officials or their families. U.S. persons and companies should perform due diligence on their representatives before entering into contracts and relationships that could result in improper offers to foreign officials.
The FCPA also imposes certain information keeping requirements on securities issuers as part of the mandate to maintain accurate books and records and have a system of internal controls.
Penalties can be very severe for violations of the FCPA — criminal violations can result in companies facing fines up to $2 million per violation and individuals facing fines up to $100,000 and up to five years in prison. Additionally, under the Alternative Fines Act, these fines may be actually much higher — up to twice the benefit that the payor sought to obtain by making the corrupt payment. The SEC can also bring civil enforcement actions against issuers and their officers, directors, employees, stockholders, and agents for violations of the anti-bribery or accounting provisions of the FCPA.
Stewart and Stewart lawyers advise companies, organizations, and individuals regarding the complex rules and requirements under the FCPA and assist clients with:
- Risk assessments
- Conducting internal investigations into potential FCPA violations
- Voluntary disclosures of violations
- Responding to FCPA enforcement investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- Developing and implementing compliance programs, policies, and procedures to minimize risks of violations
- Compliance training
- Due diligence reviews of foreign representatives and in anticipation of mergers and acquisitions
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