Foreign Bribery Update - November 2012

Articles Written by John Keeves (Partner)


The US Department of Justice and the Securities & Exchange Commission last week issued their long-awaited Resources Guide to foreign bribery, investigations and prosecutions under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Key messages for Australian companies, directors and executives are:

  • Australian companies doing business in the US or subject to US law must have an effective compliance programme that promotes ethical conduct;
  • the compliance program needs to accurately reflect the dynamic nature of your company's operations;
  • training for all employees, from the Board down, must be thorough, with periodic training and certification of all staff and third parties; and
  • reasonable business expenses are legitimate while excessive expenses or systemic facilitation payments are illegal.

The US has made it clear that if criminal foreign bribery prosecutions are commenced, it means jail for individuals involved in the conduct.
Australian companies should review and update their compliance programs to ensure they are consistent with the criteria outlined in the Guide.

Important Disclaimer: The material contained in this article is comment of a general nature only and is not and nor is it intended to be advice on any specific professional matter. In that the effectiveness or accuracy of any professional advice depends upon the particular circumstances of each case, neither the firm nor any individual author accepts any responsibility whatsoever for any acts or omissions resulting from reliance upon the content of any articles. Before acting on the basis of any material contained in this publication, we recommend that you consult your professional adviser. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation (Australia-wide except in Tasmania).

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