FBI forms new teams to increase efforts against impact of foreign corruption on United States

January 19, 2015 by Mark Dunn

The FBI is forming new teams to help uncover overseas bribery in an effort to combat international corruption. In an expanding global economy, overseas corruption can impact US investments and corporate expansion. Corruption can also undermine foreign governments' authority increasing threats on regional and global security. This was highlighted by the Chief of the FBI's Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, Jeffrey Sallet who stated:

"Lack of confidence in government leads to failed states. Failed states lead to terror and national security issues."

More than 50 corporations have paid more than $3 billion in penalties and forfeitures since 2009

The new FBI teams will complement ongoing and robust efforts by the US Justice Department and US SEC. Action to date that has already seen US and non-US companies alike face more than $3 billion dollars in enforcement settlements and the arrests of senior executives following violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which makes it illegal to bribe foreign government officials.  Read more about foreign bribery in our OECD Foreign Bribery Report.

December saw French corporate giant Alstom SA issued with a record breaking $772 million fine following alleged overseas bribery. Alstom's case and other corporate bribery cases are covered in our 'No company with an international presence is safe from regular scrutiny' blog post.

Corporate bribery schemes like Alstom's bring to light the importance of having an efficient and comprehensive due diligence process. With AML standards being raised in multiple countries, such as the EU Fourth Money Laundering Directive which will enter into force in the next two years, it is clear that 2015 will see a larger focus of anti-bribery enforcement actions against companies around the world. Companies around the world will need to prioritise due diligence on third-parties as a core component of an anti-corruption policy.

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