Anti-Corruption Laws- Do You Comply With The FCPA?

March 5, 2015

Do You Comply With The FCPA?---  South Korea has recently updated its anti-corruption laws in an effort to become compliant with the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention passed last year.  The new updates close loopholes that allowed public officials to accept expensive gifts without threat of criminal prosecution.  With a rather young anti-corruption agency that was founded 8 years ago (the Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission or ACRC) , Korea is attempting to create an anti-corruption system second to none and to become a more transparent society than most of the OECD member countries.

Considering Korea’s steps, it behooves companies (regardless of whether they conduct business in Korea or not) to consider their own internal anti-corruption guidelines and what they should do to strengthen them or update them.  Most companies need to consider the Foreign Corrupt Praactices Act ("FCPA") if they do business in the US or if they do business with a US entity. The DOJ in the US is very agressive when prosecuting FCPA violations and will prosecute non US companies too.

So regarding the FCPA, has your company implemented processes and procedures to prevent potential violations? Has your company trained your employees (including those in other countries) on the FCPA?  What does your compliance guidelines or Code of Conduct say with regards to the FCPA, if anything?  Has your compliance department or risk management team conducted an audit on FCPA violations or potential violations?  Is FCPA training or UK Bribery Act training part of your compliance program? These are questions you need to ask.

Remember:  The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits US companies from making improper payments of gifts to foreign government officials, politicians or political parties.  It also requires that companies keep accurate records of transactions and transfer of assets whether domestic or international.  All associates and agents of US companies must comply as well, including companies doing business in the US.

Questions to ask your company’s management:

  1. What controls are in place to ensure your company’s assets are safeguarded, transactions conform to management’s authorizations and accounting records are complete and accurate?
  2. What internal accounting controls, if any are in place, to comply with the FCPA?
  3. What training if any has been conducted over the last year that discussed the FCPA?
  4. What compliance programs are in place to prevent FCPA violations?
  5. Does your company have a specific FCPA policy?
  6. What reporting mechanisms are in place when doing business with government procurement officials?
  7. If you have international operations, are the international employees in compliance with their local jurisdiction’s anti-corruption laws as well as the FCPA?
  8. Does your Board of Directors have effective oversight of the FCPA process?
  9. Are there written standards in place?
  10. Is Management involved in the implementation of your FCPA program?

With regards to anti-corruption laws, it is absolutely essential that proper procedures are followed to ensure compliance, otherwise government investigations, criminal fines and penalties will follow.

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