UK Bribery Act: Raising The Bar for Anti-Corruption Programs

05 May 2011 Publication
Authors: Jacqueline N. Acosta Ivonne Mena King

Article

In today’s truly global economy, it is a given that much of the business that is done has an international component. Global anti-corruption laws present a unique challenge to companies that conduct such business. In the United States, enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), enacted some thirty years ago, is at an all time high. In 2010 alone, U.S. enforcement agencies brought a combined 74 FCPA enforcement actions and assessed monetary penalties against corporations totaling $1.8 billion. In 2010, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), which jointly enforces the FCPA in conjunction with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), announced that “FCPA enforcement is stronger than it has ever been—and getting stronger.” The SEC has also made FCPA enforcement a priority. Putting words into action, the SEC announced the creation of a specialized enforcement unit devoted to enforcement of the FCPA in 2009. In announcing the new unit, Robert Khuzami, the SEC’s Director of Enforcement, emphasized the unit’s focus in “working more closely with our foreign counterparts, and taking a more global approach to these violations.” Outside the United States, foreign counterparts appear to be taking an ever more active role in anti-corruption enforcement. Numerous countries are strengthening their anti-corruption laws and bringing actions under these international anti-corruption laws. In particular, the United Kingdom recently passed anti-corruption legislation that will undoubtedly have a global impact on anti-corruption enforcement.

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