On November 14, 2012, the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission published their much anticipated Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. There is little new in the Guide to clarify the circumstances under which the government will charge companies or individuals with FCPA violations. Instead, the Guide reiterates previous government pronouncements that the FCPA should be construed broadly, and cites its own charging decisions as “authority” for what the statute proscribes. Basically, the Guide is a comprehensive compilation of “authority” formerly found only in various Government press releases, settlement agreements and guilty pleas. Thus, the guidance is somewhat of a disappointment for the experienced FCPA practitioner and for companies that already have robust compliance programs. In a few areas – notably in its discussion of gifts, travel and entertainment – the Guide does offer a few practical compliance tips for companies still trying to find their compliance footing in the challenging business conditions that prevail in many foreign countries.
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