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DOJ and SEC Issue Long-Awaited Guidance on the FCPA

Posted: 11/20/2012
Services: White Collar and Government Enforcement

On November 14, 2012, the DOJ and SEC issued long-awaited guidance on how they enforce the FCPA. Our clients and readers will find the document, styled A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, extremely useful. In particular, pages 57-65 describe the hallmarks of an effective compliance program. The criteria listed describe the standard to which all companies should aspire. The Resource Guide also describes hypothetical transactions, at pages 61-64, and recommends how a company should proceed. In particular, the hypothetical on third-party vetting that begins on page 63 contains facts that arise commonly in the “real world,” and provides helpful suggestions for how to proceed. Finally, theResource Guide lists examples of past declinations at pages 77-79 — another good source of guidance for how to proceed when issues arise.

In sum, the DOJ and SEC have done a great service to the industry by their joint publication of theResource Guide. The candor and substance of the guidance document will encourage companies to adopt good compliance practices, and will also serve as a “playbook” for business leaders and their counsel when they discover inadvertent payments prohibited by the FCPA.