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Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

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The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) evolved from investigations by the Office of the Special Prosecutor that provided evidence of illegal acts perpetrated by U.S. firms in foreign lands. More than 400 U.S. companies admitted to making questionable payments to various foreign governments and political parties as part of an amnesty program (U.S. Department of Justice Given the environment of the 1970s and the proliferation of white-collar crimes (e.g., insider trading, bribery, false financial statements, etc.), particularly the payments made to foreign officials by corporations, Congress felt obligated to introduce legislation that led to the act. Congress's objective was to restore confidence in the manner U.S. companies’ transacted business.
The FCPA is unique. Throughout history, governments have had laws making it illegal for governmental officials to take a bribe. One basic provision of the FCPA is that it prohibits U.S. partnerships, companies, and organizations from not only giving payments but also offering or authorizing payments to foreign officials or political parties with the objective of encouraging or assuring business relationships.
There are two types of bribery provisions. The first prohibits any bribes made directly by the U.S. company. The second prohibits any organization from knowingly arranging for a bribe through an intermediary. Many thought that the FCPA would place U.S. companies at a disadvantage in the international marketplace since they could no longer influence foreign governments, officials, political parties, or candidates through gifts or payments. There has been no conclusive evidence that this has actually happened. The FCPA includes record-keeping provisions for companies not involved in criminal conduct. These provisions were an amendment to the Securities and Exchange Act of…...

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