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US Anti-Corruption Laws and Their International Reach

By Yasmine Misuraca, Prager Metis International LLC

As long as greed exists, so will corruption. To combat corruption, the US enacted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Its provisions prohibit offering, authorising, or making payments of money or anything of value to influence the decision making of foreign government offcials to obtain or retain business.

They also require the maintenance of accurate books and records and an adequate system of internal controls that would aid in the detection and prevention of FCPA violations.

The FCPA applies to issuers: companies that have securities registered with, or are required to file reports with, the US SEC; and domestic concerns: US residents, citizens, and companies whose principal places of business are in the US or that are organised under US laws. It is the FCPA’s international coverage that is not widely known.

The FCPA also applies to foreign issuers; US subsidiaries of foreign companies; foreign subsidiaries of US companies; foreign citizens who work for US companies; foreign persons or entities that directly or through an agent engage in acts furthering corrupt payments in US territory; and foreign persons or entities acting as agents for issuers or domestic concerns.

It also applies to prohibited acts by issuers or domestic concerns while abroad and carried out, for example, by emails, phone texts, or wire transfers.

Since the FCPA’s jurisdiction only applies to foreign public corruption, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) uses the Travel Act (TA), a federal criminal law, to complement the FCPA and extend its international reach to commercial bribery, which is bribery not involving foreign government offcials. The TA prohibits the use of interstate or foreign commerce to distribute unlawful proceeds.

To further the anti-corruption reach of the US, a new bill was recently introduced to the US Congress that would allow federal prosecution of bribe recipients: the foreign government offcials.

Yasmine L. Misuraca

Yasmine L. Misuraca

GGI member firm
Prager Metis International LLC
Advisory, Auditing & Accounting, Corporate Finance, Fiduciary & Estate Planning, Tax
Basking Ridge (NJ), Coral Gables (FL), El Segundo (CA), McLean (VA), New York (NY), White Plains (NY), Woodbury (NY), USA
T: +1 212 643 0099
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Prager Metis International LLC is a top accounting firm providing a full range of accounting, audit, tax, and advisory services to domestic and international clientele in a wide range of industries. With 17 offices worldwide, they have a level of expertise and a unique global presence that makes their clients’ world worth more.

Yasmine L. Misuraca is the partner in charge of forensic and dispute advisory services at Prager Metis. She specialises in conducting forensic examinations and assisting clients in complex disputes.

Published: Litigation & Dispute Resolution Newsletter, No. 11, Autumn 2019 l Photo: Juli M. -

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