FCPA enforcement continues to hit an all-time high.
As the controversial anti-bribery law continues to gain significant traction and foothold, the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) is urging the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the federal watchdog for clearer guidance on FCPA compliance.
The chamber wrote a letter to the regulators indicating that the lack of clarity has left some businesses in the dark about FCPA provisions. Thirty other trade associations co-signed the letter, including Financial Services Roundtable and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The statement asks the DoJ to consider corporate compliance programs, establish exception for de minimis gifts, and provide clarification of parent-subsidiary and successor liability, among other considerations, when making enforcement decisions.
A Reuters report says, ‘The letter comes days after two Democratic senators urged the US Justice Department to provide information about how it enforces the law to offer more ‘predictability’ to companies subject to it.’
‘This letter details many areas of ambiguity that we ask the administration to address through a meaningful and efficient process,’ says Lisa Rickard, ILR president. ‘The DOJ’s forthcoming guidance is an important first step towards providing a foundation for lasting legislative improvements to the statute…’
Appealing to Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general, and Robert Khuzami, the director of enforcement at the SEC, the ILR adds that the controversial anti-bribery law involves some degree of ambiguity: ‘Your agencies have interpreted the terms ‘foreign official’ and ‘instrumentality’ broadly but, as yet, have not provided a clear, uniform definition to which companies may conform their conduct.’
Corporate Secretary reported previously that in 2010 alone the DoJ imposed the highest criminal penalties in FCPA-related cases ‘in any single 12-month period: well over $1 billion,’ according to Breuer.
The US government has enhanced its enforcement of the statute by extracting up to $1.8 billion in sanctions from 23 companies in 2010, says Richard Cassin, a lawyer and FCPA expert.
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