What is the legal framework (legislation/regulations) governing bribery and corruption in your jurisdiction?

Bribery & Corruption

Australia Small Flag Australia

In Australia, public bribery is regulated by criminal laws at the state, territory and federal levels. Private bribery is a criminal offence at the state and territory level.

At the federal level, all of the key offences are contained within the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (Criminal Code) and both individuals and corporations may be charged. The key offences are:

  • bribing or providing a corrupting benefit to a Commonwealth public official and the receipt of a bribe or a corrupting benefit by a Commonwealth public official;
  • bribing a foreign public official; and
  • making, altering, destroying or concealing an accounting document, or failing to make an accounting document that the person is under a duty to make, with the intention of, or reckless as to whether it would, facilitate, conceal or disguise the receiving or giving of a bribe, a benefit that is not legitimately due or a loss that is not legitimately incurred.

There are separate pieces of legislation in each state and territory of Australia which set out criminal offences in relation to the giving and receiving of bribes to non-Commonwealth public official and also to private persons in some circumstances. There also remain a number of bribery offences under the common law.

Poland Small Flag Poland

Most of the crimes of corruption are penalised under the Criminal Code. They include: accepting and offering benefits in connection with performing public functions (also in a foreign State or an international organisation), influence peddling, exceeding of authority by a public official, and commercial bribery.

Additional corruption-related crimes are provided for e.g. in the Act on the Reimbursement of Medications, which prohibits accepting and offering benefits in exchange for activities influencing the level of sales of medications or medical devices subject to reimbursement from public funds, and also, the Act on Sports, which penalises bribery related to sports competitions.

Furthermore, legal entities are liable for corruption under the Act on the Criminal Liability of Collective Entities for Punishable Offences.

Ireland Small Flag Ireland

Common Law Offences
At common law, it is an offence to offer an undue reward to, or receive an undue reward from, a public official in order to influence that person in the exercise of his or her duties in that office contrary to the rules of honesty and integrity. These common law offences of bribery and attempted bribery are punishable by imprisonment or a fine, or both

However, the common law bribery and attempted bribery offences have not been judicially considered in recent times and prosecuting authorities mainly rely on the statutory offences.

Statutory Offences
The principal statutory sources of bribery law in Ireland are:

  • the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889, as amended by the Prevention of Corruption Act 1916 and the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 (the “Public Bodies Act”).
  • the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, as amended by the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act 2001 and the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act 2010 (the “Prevention of Corruption Act”).

Brazil Small Flag Brazil

The legal framework governing bribery and corruption in Brazil may be divided in two main areas: the framework regarding individuals, which is mostly criminal, and the framework regarding legal entities, which comprises administrative and civil liability.

Individuals: The practice of corrupt acts by individuals is subject to punishment in accordance with the Brazilian Criminal Code (Decree Law No. 2.848, of December 7, 1940). The Brazilian Criminal Code establishes the crimes of “active corruption”, which punishes the acting party (the individual who offers bribes to public officials) and “passive corruption”, which punishes the public official who receives bribes.

Legal Entities: The practice of acts against the public administration may lead to the civil and administrative liability of the legal entities, in accordance with the Brazilian Anticorruption Law (Law No. 12.846, of August 1st, 2013). The Brazilian Anticorruption Law was regulated by Federal Decree No. 8.420, of March 18, 2015 (the “Federal Decree”). In addition to the Brazilian Anticorruption Law, which is a federal law, certain Brazilian states have also enacted local laws regarding the liability of legal entities as a result of wrongdoings. Where enacted, such local laws follow the principles of the federal law and focus on establishing the local authority that will be responsible for the investigation and prosecution at the local level.

The Brazilian Anticorruption Law was considered innovative to the extent that it was the first law to provide for the liability of the legal entities as a result of corruption acts. Before the enactment of such law, only individuals would be prosecuted, from a criminal standpoint, and there were no specific provisions for the payment of pecuniary penalties and reimbursement of damages caused that would apply to legal entities.

On a subsidiary manner, the following laws and regulations would also apply to the bribery and corruption investigations in Brazil:

  • Federal Law No. 8.429, of June 2, 1992 (“Brazilian Public Property Law”), which provides for sanctions applicable to public agents in cases of illicit acts against public administration, such as corruption. May also be subsidiary applicable to particular individuals or entities which participated in the illicit act. Relevant articles: 1-3; 9-11; 12-18;
  • Federal Law No. 8.666, of June 21, 1993 (“Brazilian Public Bidding Law”), which provides for the rules regarding public biddings and agreements with the public administration in federal, state and local levels. Establishes sanctions in case of breach of agreements, provisions and/or wrongdoings. Relevant articles: 81-99; and
  • Federal Law No. 13.303, of June 30, 2016 (“Brazilian Public Companies Law”), which provides for the legal rules applicable to the public companies, including public controlled companies, semi-public companies and their respective subsidiaries that explore economic activity of production or commercialization of goods or provision of services, even in cases where the economic activity are protected by a government monopoly, in the Federal, State, District and Municipal levels. Relevant articles: 5-13.

The focus of this chapter will be on the rules applicable to legal entities, rather than individuals. It should be noted that, according to the Brazilian Anticorruption Law, the imposition of responsibility on legal entities does not depend on the charging and/or condemnation of the individuals, and vice-versa, meaning that each proceeding initiated by the competent authority is autonomous and will depend on the evidence presented in each case.

United Kingdom Small Flag United Kingdom

The Bribery Act 2010 provides for a general offence of bribery, which criminalises both the receipt and payment of bribes.

UAE Small Flag UAE

There are numerous anti-corruption and bribery laws in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Firstly, the UAE has ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) pursuant to Federal Decree Law No. 8 of 2006 (2006 Law). The UAE also signed the Arab Convention to Fight Corruption (the Arab Convention) on the 21 December 2010, which includes 21 Arab Countries, including the UAE.

The UAE has been fighting bribery and corruption since the 1980’s with the enactment of Federal law 3/1987 otherwise known as the UAE Federal Penal Code (the Code) and specifically Articles 234-239 of the Code. Federal Decree Law 11/08 (also known as the Federal Human Resources Law also combats bribery.

In Dubai, the above laws are supplemented by the Penal Code of 1970 and Dubai Law 37/2009 on the Procedures for the Recovery of Illegally Obtained Public and Private Funds (Financial Fraud Law).

There are also other laws which have the secondary effect of combatting bribery and corruption and they are:

  • Federal Law 4/2002 regarding the Criminalization of Money Laundering;
  • The Regulations governing the declarations by travelers entering or leaving the UAE carrying cash or negotiable instruments;
  • Federal Law 7/2014, Combating Terrorism Crimes;
  • Federal Law 9/2014 amending certain provisions of Federal Law 4/2002 concerning the Combating of Money Laundering Crimes;
  • Cabinet Resolution 38/2014, Executive Resolution of Federal Law 4/2002;
  • Dubai Law 4/2016 on Financial Crimes.

Singapore Small Flag Singapore

The primary anti-corruption law in Singapore is the Prevention of Corruption Act (Chapter 241) (PCA), enacted on 17 June 1960. The PCA has been amended several times, adapting and strengthening the investigative powers of the authorities who rely on it. The main offences under the PCA are set out in sections 5 and 6 which apply to both the private and public sector and prohibit both active and passive bribery.

The Penal Code (Chapter 224), in particular sections 161 to 165, contains further provisions concerning bribery of domestic "public servants". In practice, however, the offences under the Penal Code are rarely used to prosecute corruption offences, with prosecutors usually relying on PCA offences instead.

The Corruption, Drug Trafficking and other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (Cap 65A) (CDSA) is another legislative tool to combat corruption. The CDSA also encompasses drug dealing, allows for the confiscation of benefits and touches on other serious crimes.

China Small Flag China

Bribery and corruption in China are governed by authorities in accordance with various laws and legislation. The legal framework could be stratified, by and large, into three levels depending on the severity and identity of the involved individuals. Firstly, there are the laws and regulations under civil, administrative, and economic spheres, such as the Anti-Unfair Competition Law and the Provisional Regulations on the Prohibition of Commercial Bribery, which are the foundations for the wide-spread administrative enforcement against commercial bribery in China. Secondly, there is the Criminal Law and its corresponding legislative and judicial interpretations, which regulate the criminal violations and liabilities. In a more general sense, the disciplines and regulations issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (“CPC”), which are binding to all the CPC members and stricter in setting a much lower threshold for the constitution of the corruption related violations.

Mexico Small Flag Mexico

The Political Constitution of the United Mexican States (“CPEUM”) sets forth the general basis under which the National Anticorruption System (“SNA”) shall operate, its purpose, integration and standards.

The recently enacted General Law on the National Anticorruption System (2016) establishes the principles for the coordination between all relevant anticorruption enforcement entities, whether federal, state or municipal.

The General Law on Administrative Liabilities (“LGRA”) sets forth the duties and responsibilities of public officials and determines applicable penalties and sanctions to public officials, individuals and corporate entities for certain illegal conducts.

The Organic Law of the Federal Court of Administrative Justice grants authority to the Federal Court of Administrative Justice to impose penalties to public officials, individuals and corporate entities involved in bribery and corruption conducts.

The Organic Law of the Federal Public Administration grants authority to the Ministry of Public Administration to act, prosecute and impose sanctions related with anticorruption matters.
The General Law of the Attorney General’s Office provides the creation of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, as an independent body in charge of investigating and prosecuting corruption acts.

The Federal Criminal Code (“CPF”), defines the typology of certain criminal offences related with corruption, such as bribery, traffic of influence, embezzlement, illicit enrichment and their applicable criminal consequences.

The Audit and Accountability of the Federation Law governs the authority and powers of the Supreme Federation Audit Office, which is a specialized body dependent of the Chamber of Deputies, which has technical autonomy to audit and oversee the use of public resources by governmental entities.

The Federal Law for the Prevention and Identification of Transactions with Resources of illegal Origin (better known as the “anti-money laundering law”), sets forth the general basis and procedures to identify and prevent activities and transactions involving illegal resources.

In addition to the foregoing, there are certain documents that outline the constitutional principles under which public officials must perform their duties, such as: (i) the Code of Ethics of the Federal Public Officials; (ii) the Integrity Rules of the Public Service; and (iii) the General Guidelines to foster the integrity of public officials and to implement permanent actions encouraging their ethical behavior, through the Committees for Ethics and Prevention of Conflict of Interest.

From a non-legal perspective, there have been some efforts carried out by the private sector to design and deliver anti-corruption guidelines for companies. As a result, reputable and leading business organizations such as the Business Coordinating Council (Consejo Coordinador Empresarial), have issued the Corporate Integrity and Ethics Code, a non-binding code which has been welcomed by the business community in Mexico.

Greece Small Flag Greece

Following continuous amendments of relevant legislation and ratification of all major international instruments against corruption (see below under 19), the main core of anti-corruption legislation is found in articles 235-238 of the Greek Criminal Code, Law 4022/2011 (Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office and procedure), Law 3691/2008 (AML Regulation, sanctions applicable to acts of corruption).

India Small Flag India

The Indian legislative framework governing bribery and corruption in India is largely codified in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (‘PCA’).

The PCA is a special legislation enacted to combat bribery and corruption amongst public servants. The said Act penalizes offences committed by public servants in relation to acceptance or attempted acceptance of any form of illegal gratification (i.e., anything of value other than a legal entitlement) as a reward for doing or forbearing to do an official act.

Under the PCA, a person or a corporate body who facilitates payment of illegal gratification can also be prosecuted for abetment of a punishable offence committed by a public servant.

The IPC on the other hand, governs offences such as criminal conspiracy, criminal misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, cheating and fraud, which can be interpreted to cover offences of bribery and corruption, including those committed in the private sector. Chapter IX of IPC specifically detail offences by or relating to public servants.

In addition to the IPC and PCA, the following Acts also govern / stipulate offences of corruption and bribery in India:

Prohibition of Benami Transactions Act, 1988
A ‘benami transaction’ is construed to mean any transaction in which property is transferred to one person for a consideration paid or provided by another. Such benami transactions have often been used to camouflage proceeds of corruption This Act seeks to prohibit benami transactions and provides for imprisonment or fine (or both) for any person found to have entered into such a transaction. The Act also carves out certain exceptions, listing transactions which do not qualify as benami and details the procedure adopted by the Competent Authority (under the Act) for attaching and confiscating benami property which is the subject matter of a benami transaction.

Prevention of Money – Laundering Act, 2002
This Act seeks to prevent money laundering, including laundering of property derived from ‘proceeds of crime’. It makes money laundering a criminal offence inter alia leading to confiscation of property acquired from corrupt means. Under this Act, whosever directly or indirectly attempts to indulge or knowingly assists or knowingly is a party or is actually involved in any process or activity connected with the proceeds of crime including its concealment, possession, acquisition or use and projecting or claiming it as untainted property shall be guilty of offence of money – laundering.

The term ‘proceeds of crime’ has been defined to mean any property derived or obtained, directly or indirectly, by any person as a result of certain identified crimes which are specified under Part A of the Schedule to the Act. A person can be charged with the offence of money laundering only if he has been charged with committing a scheduled offence. For purposes of checking or preventing money laundering, the Act imposes obligations on banking companies, financial institutions, intermediaries, etc., to maintain a record of all transactions in such manner as to enable them to (1) reconstruct individual transactions, and (2) ascertain the identity of their clients or beneficial owners.

The Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003
The Central Vigilance Commission constituted under the Central Vigilance Commission Act, is conferred with the powers of exercising general superintendence and control over vigilance matters in administration and probity in public life. The Commission is governed by the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003, which provides for the constitution of a Central Vigilance Commission to inquire or initiate inquiries into offences alleged to have been committed under the PCA by certain categories of public servants of the Central Government, corporations established by or under any Central Act; government companies; societies and local authorities owned or controlled by the Central Government and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010
The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act regulates the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals, associations or companies and prohibits acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest.

Under the Act, receipt of foreign contributions requires prior registration with or approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs. In the absence of such registration or approval, receipt of foreign contributions may be considered illegal and punishable.

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act set up nodal ombudsman for the Central Government (Lokpal) and State Governments (Lokayuktas). The Lokpal and Lokayuktas have been accorded relevant powers under the Act to receive complaints and investigate cases of corruption in the public sector involving public servants.

The Companies Act, 2013
Under the Companies Act, express provisions for punishment of fraud and giving false statements have been codified. The said provisions have been enacted with a view to prevent corruption and fraud in the corporate sector. The Act also stipulates a duty on statutory auditors of a company to disclose any instances of fraud (which cover instances of corruption and bribery) committed by company employees.

The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax, 2015
This Act covers within its ambit ‘undisclosed foreign income and assets’ and lays down the procedure for imposition of tax and penalties on the said undisclosed foreign assets and income held outside India. The Act defines ‘undisclosed foreign income and asset’ as the total amount of undisclosed income of an assesse in his name or in respect of which he is a beneficial owner, and has no explanation about the source of investment in such asset or the explanation given by him is in the opinion of the Assessing Officer unsatisfactory. An assesse has also been defined under the Act.

Angola Small Flag Angola

The applicable Angolan legal framework is the following:

  • Penal Code (Código Penal),approved by Decree of September 16th 1886;
  • Law of the Crimes Committed by People who hold Positions of Responsibility (Lei dos crimes cometidos por titulares de cargos de responsabilidade) approved by Law no. 21/90, December 22nd 1990;
  • Law that creates the High Authority against Corruption (Lei da Alta Autoridade contra a Corrupção), approved by Law no. 3/96, April 5th 1996;
  • Law of Public Integrity (Lei da Probidade Pública), approved by Law no. 3/10, March 29th 2010;
  • Order that regulates the terms for the execution of the obligations provided in the Fight Against Money-Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Law(Aviso que regulamenta as condições de exercício das obrigações previstas na Lei do Combate ao Branqueamento de Capitais e do Financiamento do Terrorismo), approved by Order no. 22/12, August 14th 2012);
  • Law on the Fight Against Money-Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (Lei de Combate ao Branqueamento de Capitais e do Financiamento do Terrorismo), approved by Law no. 34/11, December 12th 2011, as amended by Law no. 3/14, February 10th 2014 and partially revoked by Law no. 19/17, August 25th 2017;
  • The Law on the Criminalization of the Money Laundering Underlying Offences (Lei sobre a Criminalização de Infracções Subjacentes ao Branqueamento de Capitais) approved by Law no. 3/14, February 10th 2014;
  • Regulation on the Duties of Preventive and Repressive Measures in the Fight Against Money-Laundering, Advantages of Illegal Origin, and the Financing of Terrorism  in the Real Estate Sector (Regulamento dos Deveres de Medidas Preventivas e Repressivas de Combate ao Branqueamento de Capitais, Vantagens de Proveniência Ilícita e ao Financiamento do Terrorismo no sector do Imobiliário), approved by Order no. 713/14, March 27th 2014;
  • General Tax Code (Código Geral Tributário), approved by Law no. 21/14, October 22nd 2014, as amended by Law no. 18/17, August 17th 2017;
  • Code of Conduct for the Officials and Administrative Agents of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights (Código de Conduta dos Funcionários e Agentes Administrativos do Ministério da Justiça e dos Direitos Humanos), approved by Executive Decree no. 258/15, May 13th 2015;
  • Regulation for the compliance of the Law on the Fight Against Money-Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (Regulamento para o cumprimento da Lei do Combate ao Branqueamento de Capitais e do Financiamento do Terrorismo), approved by Regulation no. 4/16, June 2nd 2016;
  • Law of Public Procurement (Lei dos Contratos Públicos), approved by Law no. 9/2016, June 16th 2016;
  • Law on the Prevention and Fight against Terrorism (Lei sobre a Prevenção e o Combate ao Terrorismo), approved by Law no. 19/17, August 25th 2017;

Criminal Procedural laws applicable to the fight against corruption:

  • Criminal Procedure Code (Código de Processo Penal), approved by Decree no. 16489, March 19th 1931;
  • Law of Searches, Searches of Premises and Seizures (Lei Reguladora das Revistas, Buscas e Apreensões), approved by Law no. 2/14, February 10th 2014;
  • Law of Precautionary Measures under Criminal Procedure, (Lei das Medidas Cautelares em Processo Penal), approved by Law no. 25/15, September 18th 2015.

Portugal Small Flag Portugal

Bribery and corruption are covered by five distinct laws, namely:

  • Articles 372 through 374 of the Penal Code, which relate to civil servants;
  • Articles 16 through 18 of Law no. 34/87, which relate to political office holders and high public office holders;
  • Articles 36 and 37 of the Military Justice Code, which relate to military personnel;
  • Articles 7 through 9 of Law no. 20/2008, which relate to corruption in international trade and in the private sector;
  • Articles 8 and 9 of Law no. 50/2007, which relate to sports agents;

Denmark Small Flag Denmark

The Danish Criminal Code governs bribery and corruption committed in Denmark and in certain circumstances also abroad (see 4. below)

Germany Small Flag Germany

In German law corruption is not legally defined. German law uses the term bribery and can be generally defined as the abuse of entrusted power for private or political gain. German anti-corruption provisions are included in different legislations such as the Criminal Code (StGB), the Administrative Offences Act (OWiG), the Law on Fighting Corruption (Gesetz zur Bekämpfung von Korruption), the Law on Fighting International Bribery (IntBestG) and the EU Anti Bribery Act (EUBestG).

In 2015 the new German Law on Fighting Corruption entered into force to meet the international standards on commercial bribery by implementing both European legislation and the Criminal Law Convention of the Council of Europe. The provisions on corruption in business transactions were expanded, as was the criminal liability of active and passive corruption of foreign public officials. The concept of German Criminal Law only provides for the criminal liability of an individual. It does not provide for the criminal responsibility of a corporate entity. Although German Law follows the concept of individual responsibility, the Administrative Offences Act allows the imposition of a fine to the legal entity. In certain cases the owners and management can also be held responsible for not supervising the necessary measures for preventing criminal offences.

Italy Small Flag Italy

The key Italian bribery and corruption provisions are laid down by the Criminal Code, the Civil Code and Legislative Decree no. 231 dated 8th June 2001. Moreover, the guidelines issued by ANAC (National Anti-corruption Authority) on bribery and corruption, although not legally binding, provide for the best practices that private and public companies should follow to ensure that they comply with Italian and EU regulations.

Macau Small Flag Macau

  • Decree-law no. 58/85/M, 14 November 1985, which approved the Penal Code (PC);
  • Notice of the Chief of Executive no. 5/2006, February 21st 2006, which orders the publishing of the ratification by the Popular Republic of China of the United Nations’ Convention against Corruption, adopted in New York on October 31st 2003;
  • Law no. 19/2009, August 17th 2009, which approves the Prevention and Repression of Corruption in the Private Sector;
  • Law no. 10/2000, republished by Law no. 4/2012, which approved the Organic Law of the Commission Against Corruption of the Special Administrative Region of Macao;
  • Law no. 11/2013, July 28th 2013, which approved the Legal System on the Declaration of Assets and Interests;
  • Law no. 10/2014, December 31st 2014, which approved the Framework for the Prevention and Repression of Corruption Actions in Foreign Trade;
  • Notice of the Chief of Executive no. 11/2015, March 6th 2015, which orders the publishing of the Agreement for the Constitution of the International Academy against Corruption as an International Organisation, concluded in Vienna on September 2nd 2010;

Mozambique Small Flag Mozambique

HRA: The applicable legal framework is as follows:

  • Criminal Code (Law no. 35/2014, of December 31st);
  • Public Probity Law (Law no. 16/2012, of August 14th);
  • Law to fight crimes of corruption and illegal economic participation (Law no. 6/2004, of June 17th); and
  • Code of Criminal Procedure (Decree No. 16 489 of March 19th, 1931).

Japan Small Flag Japan

As general rules relevant to bribery, Chapter XXV of the Penal Code prohibits the bribery of Japanese public officials, as well as the soliciting of bribes by Japanese public officials. Also, the Act on Punishment of Public Officials’ Profiting by Exerting Influence prohibits the bribery of people who sit in an official position and their secretaries.

Japanese public officials are bound by the National Public Service Ethics Act ("Ethics Act") and the National Public Service Ethics Code ("Ethics Code"), which provide guidelines in relation to gifts, hospitality and benefits that may be accepted by public officials, as well as applicable reporting thresholds.
With regard to foreign public officials, the Unfair Competition Prevention Act (“UCPA”) prohibits the bribery of foreign officials by Japanese citizens.

France Small Flag France

French regulations have a complete legal arsenal punishing active and passive bribery and corruption, whether these offences involve public officials or private persons.

In addition to the offences of bribery /corruption and influence peddling, which may be characterized in numerous cases, there are many other similar offences provided for by specific texts (e.g. the offence of favouritism).

The French law enforcement arsenal has been strengthened by Act of 6 December 2013 to fight serious economic and financial crime, which in addition to increasing penalties and the creation of the National Financial Prosecution Office, has also granted certain anti-corruption associations the right to bring lawsuits instead of (or together with) the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Before the Sapin II Act of 9 December 2017, the French law’s approach was merely a response based on the repression of the crimes: now, there are compulsory compliance programmes aiming at preventing corruption. In addition to the Sapin II Act, the rules on transparency in public life (11 October 2013 Act) are also part of the legal arsenal against corruption.

Switzerland Small Flag Switzerland

Switzerland has tight criminal laws on corruption, which sanction active and passive bribery of Swiss and foreign public officials as well as active and passive commercial bribery in the private sector. All offences are included in the Swiss Criminal Code (SCC).

Additionally, administrative law includes rules on hospitality, travel and entertainment expenses, as well as provisions on public procurement aimed at preventing bribery and corruption.

United States Small Flag United States

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act [FCPA], enacted in 1977, governs bribery of foreign public officials and representatives of government-controlled companies. 15 USC sections 78dd-1, et seq. In general, the FCPA prohibits US issuers and their agents, US corporate entities, US citizens, nationals or residents, and foreign nationals while in the United States, from ‘corruptly’ paying, promising, authorising or offering ‘anything of value’ to a foreign public official to ‘influenc[e] any act or decision of such foreign official in his official capacity’ or to secure an improper business advantage. 15 USC sections 78dd-1, 78dd-2, and 78dd-3. The FCPA also includes accounting provisions, which require US issuers to make and keep accurate books, records and accounts and to implement internal accounting controls. 15 USC section 78m.

Several other federal criminal statutes can be implicated in anti-bribery investigations, such as the Travel Act, federal money laundering laws, and federal mail and wire fraud statutes. The Travel Act prohibits ‘travels in interstate or foreign commerce’, or use of ‘the mail or any facility in interstate or foreign commerce, with the intent to . . . distribute the proceeds of any unlawful activity’ or ‘promote, manage, establish, carry on, or facilitate the promotion, management, establishment, or carrying on, of any unlawful activity’. 18 USC section 1952. Violations of the FCPA, as well as state laws prohibiting private commercial bribery, are included in the Travel Act’s definition of ‘unlawful activity’. Federal money laundering laws prohibit certain financial transactions using proceeds from specified unlawful activities, including FCPA violations. Mail and wire fraud statutes, which prohibit use of the mail or interstate telephonic, electronic or other wire communication to further any fraudulent scheme to deprive another of money or property, may also be implicated—for example, where a company executive with fiduciary duties is alleged to have failed to disclose bribery as part of a scheme to induce investment. 18 USC sections 1341 and 1343.

Updated: June 11, 2018