Tuesday, July 5, 2011
EU and US Anti-Corruption Enforcement: A Bridge Across the Divide
U.S. companies that bridge the Atlantic Ocean to become active in Europe not only face a completely different set of business rules but most importantly -- increased risk of FCPA prosecution.
Gaining a presence in in the European market or fending off competitors in competition in that market requires creativity in dealing both with tenders by local authorities as well as demands of decision makers. It requires close cooperation with customers and compliance with a variety of national and international rules in the EU.
The expansive jurisdictional reach of the U.S. FCPA means that “what happens in Europe, does not stay in Europe.” This is all the more true in view of the increasing trend towards greater cooperation among international enforcement authorities.
International cooperation efforts received a boost when DOJ and the EU announced a number of new extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements. The new agreements, which took effect on February 1, 2010, are intended to enhance the ability of U.S. and EU enforcement authorities to investigate and prosecute violations of anti-bribery and anti-fraud statutes, such as the FCPA, by facilitating the extradition of individuals charged with transnational crimes and streamlining the exchange of information.
As U.S. enforcement activity has accelerated, so too have European anti-corruption efforts. Aside from the UK, an increasing number of EU member states are strengthening their respective anti-corruption regimes. Germany, for example, has become an active enforcer of its anti-corruption statute. As more nations actively engage in what is now becoming a globalizing anti-corruption movement, it is critical that companies reassess their existing compliance programs to ensure that they adequately comport with all relevant anti-corruption regimes.