Upping Collaboration, Prosecution to Fight Corruption
Corporate executives whose companies are working on the international stage should be wary of the Department of Justice’s aggressive prosecution of individuals on bribery charges, Mythili Raman, acting assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s criminal division, said in a speech Monday.
In her speech, delivered at the Global Anti-Corruption Congress, Raman said the department is “now—more than ever—holding individual wrongdoers to account.” Since 2009, the DOJ has convicted over three dozen individuals for engaging in foreign bribery schemes, and in the last two months, the department has announced charges or guilty pleas against 12 executives.
“By redoubling our commitment to bring to justice those individuals who bribe for business, we are sending an unmistakable message to corporate executives around the world—if you engage in corrupt conduct, you should be prepared to face very real consequences, including jail time,” she said.
To aid in anticorruption efforts, the DOJ is seeing a strengthening movement toward cross-borderer collaboration, Raman said, citing a number of international prosecutions, including the coordinated U.S. and French prosecution of Total, a French oil and gas company, as examples.
This collaboration is aided by educational efforts at the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, including a training course on combatting foreign corruption late last year that was attended by about 130 judges, prosecutors, investigators, and regulators from more than 30 countries, multi-development banks, and international organizations, a meeting Raman called “unprecedented.”
“Needless to say, we were able to advance a number of specific prosecutions through that meeting and, as important, forge new bonds with an entire generation of prosecutors dedicated to combating global corruption,” she said.
Raman also cited increasing membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Working Group on Bribery and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention as factors driving increased international collaboration in the fight against corporate corruption.
“This type of collaboration is absolutely critical if we are going to have a meaningful impact on corruption internationally” she said. “As our economies become more interdependent, corruption itself is increasingly transnational. What may be a domestic corruption concern for one country may very well be a foreign bribery concern for another.”