Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: What You Need to Know

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) was enacted by congress to protect the American public and law-abiding companies and prosecute those who engage in illegal bribery and business practices with foreign governments for the purpose of gaining or maintaining business. According to the FCPA Resource Guide, “when business is won or lost based on how much a company is willing to pay in bribes rather than on the quality of its products and services, law-abiding companies are placed at a competitive disadvantage-and consumers lose.”

Cases involving businesses that violate FCPA guidelines are extremely sensitive to the Securities and Exchanges Commission because they are harmful to the free market economy in America. Competition is the cornerstone of capitalism and the SEC aims to level the playing field among businesses and reestablish public confidence in the market with the Act.

The FCPA was drafted and enacted in 1977 among the repercussions after the massive Watergate political scandal raised serious public concern over widespread global corruption. The SEC discovered that, “more than 400 U.S. companies had paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to foreign government officials to secure business overseas.”

Fines for FCPA violations are very steep. The record for largest charge belongs to Siemens AG, a German company that trades in the New Stock Exchange, which paid out a whopping $800 million in 2008. Other well-known companies who have engaged in foreign bribery made illegal by the FCPA include pharmaceutical titan Pfizer, the Ralph Lauren Corporation, Oracle, and a former Morgan Stanley executive.

By strictly enforcing the Foreign Corrupt Practices, the US government is essentially looking out for the little guy. It gives the local family-owned shoe store in a small town and the struggling start up an equal shot at success as the corporate giants, and it gives consumers peace of mind.

If you suspect a business of violating the FCPA, you deserve answers and Altman & Altman can help. At the Greater Boston Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP, our dedicated team of Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorneys understand the difficulties faced by victims. Our attorneys combine the professional expertise of having successfully handled thousands of Personal Injury cases, with the individual attention to understand and respond to the unique nature of your case. We will look into every detail of your case and will explore every legal avenue available in order to deliver legal representation of the highest quality.

At the law offices of Altman & Altman, we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – including nights and weekends to answer any questions regarding your case. Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation.

US Securities and Exchanges Commission. SEC Enforcement Actions: FCPA Cases. US Securities and Exchanges Commission. FCPA Resource Guide.

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