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SPOTCHECKCOMPLIANCE


Navigating changes to anti-bribery enforcement


With the US Department of Justice providing


incentives for companies to voluntarily


disclose any corruption they uncover, there is now a much stronger reason for companies to self-police, explains Robert Clark of TRACE International.


he year 2016 was a big 12 months for the agencies enforcing the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Between the two of them, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission concluded a record number of actions addressing violations of the world’s oldest transnational-bribery law. The year also saw a major shift in the DOJ’s enforcement policy, with the criminal division rolling out a one-year pilot programme incentivising companies to voluntarily disclose infractions and placing greater emphasis on prosecuting the individuals who carried them out. As 2017 approached, many wondered what would become of the agencies’ anti-corruption priorities. The previous year’s upswing could be understood as reflecting this uncertainty, with the parties wanting to finalise proceedings under stable conditions. As it happened, the number of FCPA enforcement actions – while not coming close to the 2016 record – returned more or less to normal, with a total of 14 matters resolved.


T


The US government’s ongoing commitment to fighting corruption was


46 May/June 2018


highlighted in an end-of-year speech by the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. “The FCPA is the law of the land. We will enforce it against both foreign and domestic companies that avail themselves of the privileges of the American marketplace.” While brandishing that stick, Rosenstein also held out a carrot: the pilot programme would find continued life in a revised FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy. When a company promptly discloses a violation, fully cooperates in any investigation, and undertakes appropriate remedial measures, the department will presumptively (barring aggravating circumstances) decline to bring charges against the company. Cooperation, of course, includes providing information about the individuals responsible for the violation. Those individuals will find no comfort in the new


Effective deterrence of corporate corruption requires prosecution of culpable individuals. – Rod Rosenstein,


US deputy attorney general


policy, which is aimed directly at facilitating their identification and prosecution. As Rosenstein observed: “Effective deterrence of corporate corruption requires prosecution of culpable individuals.” To that end, the policy also clarifies the essential elements of a corporate anti-bribery compliance programme, ranging from adequacy of resources and pathways of communication to building and maintaining a “culture of compliance”.


Partners in compliance By promoting the adoption of effective compliance procedures and giving companies a reason to disclose any misconduct those procedures unearth, the department makes partners of the companies in its efforts to detect and prevent corrupt behaviour.


What does this mean for companies in the logistics and freight industry? For those that are subject to US jurisdiction, there is now a greater incentive to engage in self-policing by strengthening and monitoring the critical points at which corruption can take hold. Where the work entails frequent interaction with Customs agencies, for example, clear training and


www.heavyliftpfi.com


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