Yesterday the FCPA Blog wrote about a new resource
available to the compliance practitioner, the FCPA Database. Intrigued by this
introduction and still needing to cool off from my rant about the worst
conflict of interest mistake (almost ever) made, I clicked over to the site for
a visit. Boy was I impressed, the Database has a number of resources gathered
in one location which can be of immediate use to the compliance practitioner.
The site collects information which will be specific to the compliance
The site includes sections on the following:
Law Firm Memos - A
collection of the best and brightest blue chip law firm articles on all areas
of anti-corruption issues.
Law Firm Directory - An
invaluable collection of law firms around the world, which you can call on for
system legal services or when an emergency arises and you need a law firm in
Afghanistan, as in now, for example.
Events Calendar - A
wide ranging section on up and coming FCPA, compliance and anti-money
laundering events across the globe.
News - A daily collection
of compliance and money-laundering news from around the globe. There is an
aggregated section and then the globe is broken out by continent and
sub-continent. So if you want to see the latest compliance and anti-corruption
news about Southeast Asia you can simply click on it go directly there.
Legislative Index -
For my money this is the single biggest differentiator that the FCPA Database
brings to the table for the compliance practitioner. I toggled over to the
country of Australia to find the following sub-categories; Anti-Corruption,
anti-money laundering, privacy legislation and enforcement agencies. I then
looked to see if they are a member of OECD and UNCAC and if so what are their
reports on anti-corruption efforts in the country? In short it aggregates a
host of information that would normally only be available to those have
in-country researchers digging out these details.
Why is such a resource needed and of such great use to
the compliance practitioner? Yesterday I was one of two panelists in a webinar,
jointly hosted by Ethisphere and World Check. The subject was anti-corruption
efforts in China both under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and
Chinese law. My co-presenter was Amy Sommers, a partner in K&L Gates
Shanghai office. I spoke about the FCPA affecting US companies doing business
with or in China and Amy spoke about anti-corruption efforts from the Chinese
perspective. Amy detailed several current laws designed to fight bribery and
corruption in China.
One of the more interesting topics raised by Amy is that
there are both Chinese national laws and Communist Party internal rules and
regulations against government officials and party members accepting gratuities
which are not reasonable in value; are given without transparency, and/or have
the appearance of impropriety. Doesn't this sound like something very close to
the FCPA policy on gifts? The point of Amy's remarks is that if the gift
violates the FCPA; it probably also violates some Chinese law as well. If you,
as a US company employee, make such an offer to a Chinese governmental official
or employee of a state owned enterprise, you may put the recipient in the
unenviable position of not wanting to lose face by not accepting your gift. But
such acceptance may violate a local law.
Previously, it could have been very difficult for a US
company to know the local law in a foreign jurisdiction. There was certainly no
single resource to which the compliance practitioner could turn to for that
information. The FCPA Database fills that gap. It is welcomed addition to all
things compliance and I suggest you visit the site, noodle around and see what
it has that might help you make your company's compliance program more robust.
Visit the FCPA Compliance and Ethics Blog,
hosted by Thomas Fox, for more commentary on FCPA compliance, indemnities and
other forms of risk management for a worldwide energy practice, tax issues
faced by multi-national US companies, insurance coverage issues and protection
of trade secrets.
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© Thomas R. Fox, 2011
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