The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is designed to criminalize and prevent bribery of government officials of other countries. Codified as amended at 15 U.S.C. ��78m, 78dd-1, 78 dd-2, 78ff (2000). The FCPA is drafted in very broad terms and is designed to bring all American companies and even individuals within its boundaries. As the Department of Justice Web site notes, the “FCPA potentially applies to any individual, firm, officer, director, employee, or agent of a firm and any stockholder acting on behalf of a firm.” United States Attorneys’ Manual, Title 9, Criminal Resource Manual, �1018, Prohibited Foreign Corrupt Practices (November 2000). Therefore, all American companies involved in international commerce, whether large, mid-sized or small, and whether publicly traded or not, need to take appropriate steps to comply with the FCPA.

Although the FCPA also contained certain accounting provisions, designed to prevent the use of “slush funds” in bribery schemes, this article will focus on the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. Generally stated, the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA make it illegal for an individual or company in the United States to make, offer or even promise to make, illicit payments to a foreign official to cause that foreign official to assist in obtaining or retaining business for the payor. U.S. v. Giffen, 326 F. Supp. 2d 497, 501 (S.D.N.Y. 2004). See 15 U.S.C.A. 78dd-1(a)(1) and 78dd-2(a)(1) for the specific prohibitions. It is worth noting that American companies and individuals may be liable under the FCPA even if the offer, promise or payment is accomplished without any conduct having occurred within U.S. territory. �1018. See 15 U.S.C.A. 78dd-1(g) and 78dd-2(i).

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