Friday, June 18, 2010

Facts, Figures and Findings

Trace International has again turned out an informative product.

First, it was the Trace Compendium (here) a searchable database of FCPA enforcement actions.

Now, it is what is planned to be an annual global enforcement report "designed to identify and track international anti-bribery enforcement trends." See here for the 2010 report.

The "GER" - as it is being called - "provides a summary of all known international anti-bribery enforcement actions since the FCPA's passage some 33 years ago." As the GER notes, passing anti-bribery laws "is an important first step toward promoting international business transparency, but enforcement is a necessary second step in the effort to reduce corruption."

Some facts, figures, and findings from GER 2010 include:

"Twenty-two countries pursued 515 foreign bribery enforcement actions between 1977 and June 2010, including known matters still in the investigative stage. The United States established the strongest record in the period, undertaking over 75 percent of all actions. This record is noteworthy, even given that the United States passage of the world’s first foreign bribery law—the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977—gave the country a considerable head start on enforcement. The United States has accumulated almost 18 times as many anti-bribery enforcement actions as the country with the next highest total, the United Kingdom. Many countries worldwide have not pursued a single enforcement action in the 33-year period."

"The largest number of enforcement actions involves alleged bribe payments to officials in Iraq, Nigeria and China." As noted in the GER, Iraq is high on the list because of the numerous Oil-for-Food cases. Nigeria is not surprising given its prominent oil and gas industry, coupled with the GER's finding that "the extractive industries sector was most frequently the subject of international anti-bribery enforcement actions." China is not surprising either given the extent to which U.S. companies have flocked to this growth market in recent years, the fact that there are literally millions of Chinese "foreign officials" because the enforcement agencies deem all employees of state-owned or state-controlled enterprises to be "foreign officials," and because most companies operating in China do so through third-parties.

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