Every company seeks methods to minimize the risk of internal misconduct. If your company does international business, you will especially want to minimize the risk of fraud and corruption—both within your company and with third parties. Just as you have financial and operational policies and procedures to assure compliance with U.S. government requirements, you should have an anti-corruption program or an integrity compliance program. We assist companies in preparing anti-corruption compliance programs.
These programs are tailored to the needs of each particular company, depending on the size of the company, the countries where it does business, the industry in which it operates and other factors affecting the nature of the risk. In the United States, most companies doing business internationally are concerned about compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. But there are other regimes that guide the design of these programs, such as the World Bank Integrity Compliance Guidelines, the U.K’s Anti-Bribery Act, the Anti-Bribery Recommendations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and several others.
Developing an anti-corruption compliance program requires several stages. In the first stage, we ascertain the business risks facing the company. During this stage, we analyze the key business issues pertinent to corruption risk for the company: business contracts; business partners and third parties; dealing with government officials and state-owned enterprises; conflicts of interest; facilitating payments; lobbyists; and country risk.
In the next stage, we will assess the corruption risks that may affect the business. For example, the following may present red flags: unusual payment patterns or financial arrangements; unusually high commissions; lack of transparency in expenses and accounting records; lack of qualifications of local joint venture partner.
The third stage is preparing an anti-corruption or integrity compliance program (ICP). The program we develop will articulate the company policies for various aspects of the company’s business such as doing business with third parties; travel and entertainment; gifts; facilitation payments; internal controls.
The final stage includes training and communication of the program to the company’s employees and the third parties with which the company works. This stage generally includes training sessions and may include internal or external monitoring.
Having an effective anti-corruption program minimizes the risk of corruption and fraud. A company that is charged with misconduct can use the program as a mitigating factor in any sanction imposed. If a company has already been debarred, then the sanctioning authority such as the World Bank may require implementation of a ICP. We represent companies that have been charged with misconduct and more details can be found in our government contracting practice.
FAQs – Anti-Corruption Compliance Laws
Why is it important for companies to minimize the risk of internal misconduct, particularly in the context of international business?
If your company does international business, you will especially want to minimize the risk of fraud and corruption—both within your company and with third parties. Just as you have financial and operational policies and procedures to maintain compliance with U.S. government requirements, you should have an anti-corruption program. Generally your anti corrpution lawyer or bribery lawyer will be able to help you with that as internal misconduct can lead to significant legal and financial consequences, including regulatory investigations, fines, and reputational damage. It can also result in a loss of customer trust and confidence, impacting the company’s relationships with stakeholders and potential business opportunities.
What is an anti-corruption compliance program, and why should companies have one?
An anti-corruption compliance program is a set of policies, procedures, and internal controls designed to prevent and detect corrupt practices within a company’s operations. It aims to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations related to anti-corruption and generally set up by an anti-corrpution laywer.
Companies should have an anti-corruption compliance program to mitigate the risk of involvement in corrupt activities, protect their reputation, and demonstrate a commitment to ethical business practices. As an anti-currption lawyer, we have expertise in managing FCPA law and other anti-corruption compliances, and assist companies in developing and implementing anti-corruption compliance programs tailored to their specific industry and jurisdiction, ensuring adherence to legal requirements, and promoting a culture of integrity throughout the organization.
Are there any legal requirements for companies to have an anti-corruption compliance program?
While there is no universal legal requirement for companies to have an anti-corruption compliance program, certain jurisdictions have enacted laws that incentivize or mandate the implementation of such programs. The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act impose legal obligations on companies to prevent corruption and bribery. Companies operating in regulated industries or engaging in international business may also be subject to industry-specific compliance requirements. Even in the absence of a legal requirement, having an anti-corruption compliance program is considered a best practice to mitigate risks. As a leading anti-corrption lawyer, we assist companies in understanding and complying with relevant legal requirements and developing anti-corruption compliance programs.
Can you represent companies that have been charged with misconduct related to corruption or fraud by the World Bank?
As an anti-corruption law firm, we have represented companies that have been investigated or accused of sanctionable practices before the World Bank. We have represented companies before the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency for sanctionable practices, which include corrupt practices, fraudulent practices, collusive practices, coercive practices and obstructive practices.
The best answer to possible corruption is prevention. If the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) has launched a preliminary investigation, the target of the investigation should promptly retain the services of an anti-corrption law firm or bribery lawyer to assist in a response. The earlier that a company contacts us for representation allows us more flexibility in preparing a response.
We can promptly assess the situation, develop a defense strategy, and represent the company’s interests throughout the process. This may include conducting an internal investigation, negotiating with INT, preparing legal arguments, and advocating for the company.