FOREIGN BRIBERY COMMON AND DANGEROUS FOR BUSINESS

Over one quarter of all enforcement actions taken in the United States under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act(FCPA) have based on improper conduct in China. The FCPA is a U.S. law prohibiting bribery linked to foreign governments but that can also mean bribes paid to others related to those in power in foreign nations. World leaders gathering at the G-20 summit last month pledged to work together to stop corruption including bribery abroad and to protect whistleblowers by implementing new whistleblower protection rules by 2012. Now the Securities and Exchange Commission shares jurisdiction with the Justice Department over cases which violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. For example in September, the SEC collected $39 million from ABB Ltd. a Swiss company that provides power and automation products and services. ABB made $2.7 million in bribes and kickbacks to obtain more than $100 million in contracts. The payments were to government officials in Mexico to obtain business with government owned power companies and also to Iraq to obtain contracts under the United Nations Oil for Food Program. Other kickbacks were made through bank guarantees and cash payments. It is common to disguise unlawful payments in this manner. If you are a whistleblower, contact Jeffrey Newman at jeffrey.newman1@gmail.com