A recent story should serve as a cautionary tale for companies that do not want to run afoul of the federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Looking at a recent prosecution, the publication Corporate Counsel determined that it doesn’t take much to steer into risky waters.
The article relates how Smith & Wesson agreed to pay $2 million to settle charges after the government alleged the company “had engaged in a systematic pattern of bribery from 2007 to early 2010 in order to get contracts to sell firearms to foreign military and law enforcement in countries such as Indonesia, Turkey and Pakistan.” The article’s larger lesson is voiced by a Mayer Brown attorney:
“Bill Michael, cochairman of Mayer Brown’s global anticorruption and FCPA practice, told CorpCounsel.com the fact that the SEC was willing to go after a company that only profited by a little more than $100,000 from allegedly illegal actions should be a lesson and warning to those who would skirt antibribery law. ‘Apparently, no case may be too small,’ he said.”
You can read the complete article here (subscription or LinkedIn log-in may be required).
But for your clients who operate abroad, also remember to examine other nation-specific laws that may trip up your corporate clients. For instance, we covered the U.K. bribery law here (thanks to Marc Lieberman and Mark Lasee for that great article).Follow @azatty