Most compliance practitioners have gotten the message that a risk assessment should inform the creation of, or enhancements to, your Foreign Corrupt Practices (FCPA) or Bribery Act anti-corruption compliance program. But just say that you are Compliance Officer and the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) comes into your office and tells you that the company wants to look at going into China to either manufacture a key component of your company's most valuable product or go into Russia to sell a new product line. The CCO would like you to do a risk assessment from the anti-corruption/anti-bribery perspective. You cannot go to outside counsel or an outside expert. Faced with this problem, what might be the best single resource for you to begin this research?
Put another way, what is the best one-stop database site for anti-corruption and anti-bribery on a worldwide basis? I think that the answer is will lead you to one resource that I would suggest you take a very hard look and that is ethiXbase.com. The reason - it simply has a breadth and scope that cannot be matched.
The database has five tabs which allow you to research in a wide variety of areas. In addition to the individual tabs, details of which are listed below, you can set notifications for email alerts. You should also note that the site is updated on a daily basis. The specific information includes the following:
This tab allows you to set any of the BRIC, Brazil, Russia, India and China, countries as a default country. From this setting you will receive information on the latest actions in the country; the latest FCPA enforcement actions related to the country you have selected; enforcement statistics and trends and summary of legislation relating to anti-corruption, translated into English. This tab also provides general statistics on the country such as population, capitol and elected federal officials.
This tab provides a simply breath-taking scope of information for the compliance practitioner. Every FCPA enforcement action and publicly announced on-going investigation is available to you in a searchable database. The ease of use is outstanding. There is information on Federal register, federal agency, public laws, and Congress bills related to the FCPA and, finally, there are risk factors disclosed by companies around the world in all of the above. Amazingly, this database is updated on an hourly basis so you have the most up-to-date information available.
This database is equally broad in scope to the FCPA Index but set up for the entire world. Pick any country and you will immediately have access to anti-corruption legislation and the applicability of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). You will find OECD reports as well as other Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF). There is also an index of ancillary laws such as privacy laws and anti-money laundering legislation in each country.
Law Firm Memos
For any compliance practitioner, this resource is simply fabulous; it houses the best legal Memos from the best law firms in the world. It is database of more than 1,000 client alerts and white papers from firms specializing in compliance issues. It is searchable by law firm name, topic and title. You can set up customized watches or bookmark specific memos.
Last, but certainly not least, is the News section. This features news in the following categories: Home, News Home, Featured, Africa, Middle East, Europe, North America, Central-South America, South East Asia, Australasia, South Asia and Central Asia. Why is this so important? It can keep you abreast of the most current anti-corruption and anti-bribery news across the globe. More importantly, if an issue or matter pops up in your industry or a geographic region in which your company does business, you will know about it and can be prepared to review it internally. It is a great way to understand how and where the Department of Justice (DOJ) is using its investigative resources.
So how does all of this relate to your assigned task? ethiXbase allows you to research the relevant laws of each jurisdiction that you wish to enter. You can also review all FCPA enforcement actions to determine if your sales model may be similar to any companies which have run afoul of the FCPA. The Law Firm Memo section will give you the underlying legal basis to support your findings. With the Dashboard you can set up the email notifications for any new legal enforcement actions, Memos or news for the country or countries that you need to follow closely. Lastly, the News section will allow you to keep abreast of the reported information for each country.
I have thoroughly reviewed ethiXbase and use it in my compliance legal practice. You should as well.
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.
This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Thomas R. Fox, 2012
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