10 misconceptions that increase the likelihood of FCPA violations

Chicago, Apr 14, 2011. With the increase in litigation over the last four years around the 30-year-old Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) putting a spotlight on bribery among public officials in foreign jurisdictions, consultancy Grant Thornton has teamed with enterprise risk specialist EthicsPoint to create a paper that looks at 10 common misconceptions that can increase the likelihood of corporate FCPA violations.

“The large number of FCPA cases and the formation of specialized FCPA units within Federal agencies, suggest that this is a long-term initiative for regulators,” said Bill Olsen, Grant Thornton economic advisory service principal and the firm’s FCPA practice leader. “While working with our clients to address issues in this area, we have observed that many multinational organizations are especially interested in tactics that will fully address their FCPA risks.”

“Organizations doing business globally usually have a robust ethics and compliance program in place,” said David Childers, president and CEO of EthicsPoint. “Having a management-supported program visible in the organization helps show a company’s commitment to conducting business correctly — and can reduce potential penalties.”

The two firms offered the following 10 common misconceptions that companies should address to stay in compliance with the FCPA and potentially avoid penalties:

1.”Based on our company profile, we don’t have any FCPA risks.”

If a company has even a few interactions with overseas markets, assessing potential FCPA or other anti-corruption risks is highly recommended.

2.”We are a private company so we don’t have to be concerned with the FCPA”

Although many of the highly publicized FCPA enforcement actions have been against public companies, private companies are just as likely to come under review by government enforcement agencies.

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