As the 15th Annual Firearms Import/Export Conference confirmed, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) remains dedicated to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement. The FCPA is complex and nuanced but, in a nutshell, prohibits bribes to foreign officials. In April, DOJ announced that it was in the process of dedicating significantly greater resources to the FCPA by adding 10 new prosecutors to the Criminal Fraud Section and three new squads of FBI special agents, all dedicated to FCPA investigations and prosecutions. At the same time, DOJ announced a new one-year “pilot program” designed to encourage companies to voluntarily disclose FCPA misconduct in exchange for certain benefits. The pilot program was introduced in a memorandum titled “The Fraud Section’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Enforcement Plan and Guidance.” (A copy of the memorandum is available here: Enforcement Plan and Guidance.) To qualify for the benefits of the pilot program, such as reduced fines, removal of a corporate monitor requirement or a declination to prosecute, companies must voluntarily self-disclose misconduct and provide full cooperation, among other requirements.
Although the pilot program provides critical guidance to companies at a time when DOJ is committing more resources than ever to the FCPA, there are still a number of other memoranda and sources to consider when addressing the FCPA, including the “Yates Memo”, U.S. Attorneys Manual and U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Renzulli Law Firm, LLP provides counseling regarding the FCPA, including the development of written protocols to prevent violations and assistance navigating legal challenges associated with the international business environment.