Bribery and Corruption: The COSO Framework, FCPA, and U.K. Bribery Act

Long-established major U.S. corporations such as McDonalds, Walmart, and Proctor and Gamble continue to derive a majority of revenues from foreign operations. In addition, a number of relatively new U.S. technology companies such as: Airbnb (2008); Facebook (2004); Snap (2011); Twitter (2006); and Uber (2009), find themselves deep into international markets, often within just a few years of creation, and certainly by the end of their first decade of operation. Increased international commerce results in the potential for greater exposure to global demands for bribery. Bribery and corruption remains a cancer eating away at the ability of nation states to provide for their citizens. Corrupt payments siphons off funds that might otherwise be used to: provide housing; feed the hungry; fight poverty, illness and disease; and educate the masses.

The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Framework offers a valuable tool in the anti-fraud struggle and in FCPA and UK BriberyAct compliance. COSO’s 2017 update to the Enterprise Risk Management ̶ Integrated Framework addresses developments during recent years in integrating risk with strategy into the ERM process. Our paper proceeds in eight parts. First, we discuss the bribery and corruption problem. Second, a discussion of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is presented. Third, we describe the U.K. Bribery Act. Fourth, we discuss the development and evolution of the COSO ERM Framework. Fifth, we apply the COSO ERM Framework as an anti-fraud strategy to assist in compliance with the FCPA and UK Bribery Act. Sixth, we discuss the application of Deferred Prosecution Agreements to the FCPA and their relevance to COSO ERM. Next, we explore the likely changes in FCPA enforcement under the Trump Administration. We believe this paper contributes to the bribery and corruption literature by exploring the potential benefits of the COSO framework.

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