More Agents Means More Possible FCPA Investigation

Mar 12, 2015 3:05 PM ET

With the increased activity that is happening in corruption, increased efforts to enforce it have been beefing up as well. It is no secret that the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice are cracking down on anti-corruption, so it would be logical that their efforts would increase as well. So what does it mean for companies worldwide? Many companies now are seeing this and taking measures to focus on their anti-corruption and anti-bribery efforts. Nicole Hughes Waid of writes that the DOJ has confirmed the addition of 30 agents. These agents will be tasked with FCPA violators and work to prosecute those that are found dealing with un-ethical practices.

Last year the approximately $1.25 billion was collected in FCPA violations, breaking a record number from the year before. With more agents on the job, covering more ground, companies should not take this lightly.    

Corruption in any global brands company is detrimental to the infrastructure of the organization. Tom Larned, a former FBI agent understands why the FBI is increasing their force for FCPA violations:

"The deployment of additional FBI agents to field offices and foreign posts to investigate International bribery matters is consistent with the Department of Justice’s emerging view that foreign corruption presents a national security threat to the United States.”

The Department of Justice, along with the increase of its investigative ability, is an indication that companies should begin to look at their internal and external anti-corruption and anti-bribery programs. Full reviews of their global business practices, risk management areas, and due-diligence of their 3rd party business partners and vendors should be a main focus, now that these resources will ultimately drive more investigations.

Demonstrating the effectiveness of your program should be the main focus. Making sure there are elements in place that allow for a complete control of corruption is key to avoiding possible violations. The OECD and the FCPA have put forth several guidelines that may help in your company’s efforts in starting a program. To view those guidelines just click here.