U.S. Government sends a message by stepping up crackdown on foreign corrupt payments

Washington Post. Feb 8, 2010. Federal authorities want companies to know that the cost of paying bribes to win overseas contracts is growing steeper by the day.

Long a priority of the FBI and the Justice Department, efforts to police corrupt business payments have intensified in recent weeks, with multimillion-dollar corporate settlements and coordinated arrests of individual executives accused of attempting to grease the skids.

On Feb 5, 2010, BAE Systems, the world’s second-largest defense contractor, agreed to pay $ 400 million to resolve decade-old allegations that it misled the Defense and State departments about its efforts to comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The law bars companies from bribing government officials to win lucrative contracts and other favorable treatment

Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, who leads the criminal division, recently told reporters that the department had more than 140 open investigations centering on foreign bribes. In a November speech, Breuer said prosecutors would be taking a closer look at foreign sales by pharmaceutical companies after years of focusing on the defense and oil services industries. He also vowed to continue to charge individual business executives with crimes related to the FCPA.

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