The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was design to make it fair for companies in the United States to be able to compete in the global market. It was amended in 1977, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1, et seq. ("FCPA"), and it “prohibits United States businesspersons from bribing foreign officials to secure advantageous contracts” (Business Law Text & Exercises, p.22). This law makes it illegal to engage in any form of bribery, whether monetary or of any kind, in order to get an edge in another country. This law applies to all US companies including officials, directors, officers, shareholders, employees and agents. In the past, many companies in the US and the world would engage in bribery in order to get ahead in business procedures. Whether it be a license or creating a loop hole in local laws, the bribery of foreign government officials is something that was a common practice in the past and its is still going on, even with laws being implemented.
This law still allows companies to make substantial sums to minor officials whose duties are ministerial, usually referred to as “grease”. This is done by US companies to speed up procedures that otherwise would be a slow process. It also does not prohibit payments to private foreign companies or a third party unless the
References: Roger L. Miller, William E. Hollowell, Business Law Text & Exercises, 6th Edition, South-Western Cengage Learning, 2011 The United States Department of Justice, http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa/ http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa/docs/lay-persons-guide.pdf The Wall Street Journal, Avon Begins FCPA Settlement Talks, Samuel Rubenfeld, 6/1/2012, http://blogs.wsj.com/corruption-currents/2012/08/01/avon-begins-fcpa-settlement-talks/ Corporate Counsel, As U.S. Waits for FCPA Guidance, UK Bribery Act Gets an Update, Catherine Dunn, 8/10/2012, Law.com