An example of an improper travel and entertainment expense? The guide highlights several, including this: "a trip to Paris for a government official and his wife that consisted primarily of touring activities via a chauffeur-driven vehicle."
Reed Smith litigation partner Eric Dubelier said clients routinely agonize over the holidays in China, unsure what provision of gifts could draw scrutiny from FCPA enforcement officials.
"I think, historically, [what] most lawyers would say is, 'A gift is a gift. You can't give a gift,' " he said. The FCPA memo's discussion of gifts is "striking," Dubelier said.
The memo's language about "appropriate under local law" is fuzzy, Dubelier said, but the guidance does provide some meaningful information about the appropriateness of some gift-giving.
"We can't take an American doctor, but now we can take a foreign doctor to a play or a baseball game," Dubelier said.
One of Khuzami's hopes flowing from the FCPA guidance? That corporate officials will put the resource book on a desk, pick it up and understand directly what enforcement agencies are up to in the realm of anti-corruption.
"The real value here is the clarity and the transparency," Khuzami said. "This guide is unique because it allows us to communicate directly with the regulated community. You don't always have the opportunity to do that."
Mike Scarcella writes for The National Law Journal, a Daily Report affiliate.