US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Author: Keith Martin Publication | June 5, 2018

Enforcement actions were down 50% in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the average number over the last 10 years.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it a crime to offer anything of value to an official of a foreign government or international public organization in an effort to win business or secure any improper advantage. The Department of Justice investigates bribes. The Securities and Exchange Commission administers another part of the statute that makes it a crime to disguise illegal payments in company accounts.

The Department of Justice announced just two enforcement actions in the first quarter: one against a company and the other criminal charges against another executive of the company beyond the six company executives that the government has already indicted. The SEC filed two actions against companies.

All three corporate actions had been settled by the time they were announced. The case against the seven company executives is still pending.

The agencies had 62 ongoing investigations open at the end of March.

Walmart disclosed in SEC filings that it incurred $877 million in legal fees and other costs in connection with an internal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation it launched before November 2011 into alleged illegal payments. The amount includes the cost of revamping its compliance systems around the world and is more than three times the $283 million the company said it has set aside to cover the fine it expects to have to pay as part of an anticipated settlement with the US government.


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Keith  Martin

Keith Martin

Washington, DC