Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) creates ongoing concerns for any organization operating internationally, whether your organization is expanding abroad for the first time or already has an international presence. Wyatt’s team of attorneys has deep experience representing entities and executives with all aspects of FCPA compliance and investigations.

The Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission consistently enforce the FCPA on entities large and small, regularly exacting multi-million dollar penalties for violations. In its most basic terms, the FCPA prohibits American companies and their agents from bribing foreign-government officials for a “business purpose.” The FCPA also penalizes false accounting used to conceal bribes. But the expanse of those prohibitions is anything but basic. For purposes of the FCPA:

  • Foreign officials can run the gamut from a high-ranking appointee to a common clerk working the night shift in a permit office. Sometimes, even private employees can be officials, if their employers are sufficiently owned or controlled by the state. 
  • As for the person doing the bribing, it doesn’t even have to be your employee. Agents acting on your company’s or joint venture’s behalf will suffice.
  • A “business purpose” is liberally interpreted to mean nearly anything done to obtain or retain business or achieve a commercial advantage.
  • The bribe can be any “thing of value,” and the Act infamously has no de minimis exception—modest gifts and small-time kickbacks can lead to multi-million dollar fines.
  • There is no such defense as “that’s just how business is done there.” Many have tried. All have failed.

Wyatt’s team is experienced in representing corporations and executives in all aspects of FCPA compliance, including defending corporations and executives in aggressive government investigations. Regardless of whether you are working proactively to maintain FCPA compliance or responding to a potential violation, we are ready to advise on any FCPA matter:

  • FCPA due diligence in expansion, mergers, and acquisitions
  • Creating or updating a tailored anti-corruption and bribery compliance program
  • Conducting internal investigations
  • Responding to government investigations and civil law suits