Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Continuity in a Transition Year

With the election of Donald Trump as President and based on citizen Trump’s prior blunt statement that the FCPA is a “horrible law and it should be changed,” some apprentice commentators predicted that the FCPA “is likely to be substantially weakened, perhaps even repealed” and that “the era of vigorous FCPA enforcement… is over.” However, those hyperventilating regarding the FCPA’s future were encouraged to take a deep breath, focus on facts and enforcement fundamentals, and realize that the FCPA was not going away and that FCPA enforcement was not going to substantially change. While 2017 enforcement did not eclipse 2016’s record breaking year of enforcement (after all, records can’t be broken every year), this article highlights that in 2017 there was a continuation of robust FCPA enforcement by the Trump administration involving the same enforcement theories and same resolution vehicles used in prior administrations.

Like prior years, 2017 was notable for enforcement actions against business organizations across a wide industry spectrum, involving conduct around the globe, and ranging from egregious instances of corporate bribery executed at the highest levels of the company and involving hundreds of millions of dollars to garden variety allegations of sports tickets, internships for family members of alleged foreign officials, and charitable donations. In addition, 2017 was also notable for enforcement agency policy and related developments including the Department of Justice’s announcement of an “FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy.”

This article, part of a continuing yearly analysis of FCPA enforcement and related developments, provides a detailed overview of 2017 FCPA enforcement and related developments and will be of value to anyone seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge.

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