Business Enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act


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The enactment of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 1977 makes it illegal for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. The FCPA works hand-in-hand with the anti-bribery laws to prohibit the use of any means that provides possible corrupted interstate commerce.

This may include acts of offers, payments, any promises to pay another and something offered of value to another. These offers or payments are in service for a foreign official to give or provide influence to another or for a certain cause. He or she may act or not act based on what is requested. This usually gives the individual or organization a type of advantage in business for the company or the single person involved.

Businesses work together in keeping each owner in line and ensuring the laws are not broken through fair and reasonable business practices, interactions and competition within a single market and throughout the markets in the United States. Through doing so, these companies are often able to enforce legal action and ensure criminal charges are issued for those that violate such Acts as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The provisions within this specify that creating a new company or maintaining one through government interference is prohibited, and this includes expanding from one country to another. However, the owner is able to follow these processes when there is no contact or use through the government agency.

Consequences of Violations

When a company violates Acts and laws, there are often swift judgments when the case is tried before a judge or international court. The license is usually suspended upon review. Then, if the judge or court finds the company guilty or the owner has been exhibiting illegal or unethical practices, he or she could lose a professional license to do business permanently. Companies frequently pay extensive fines to local governments and agencies. If laws are violated, criminal charges may be issued and the individual is sent to prison if convicted with this sentence. However, the entire company may suffer for the actions of the owner.

Violating the FCPA could lead to criminal charges when a foreign official has been contacted and bribed or coerced into providing influence for money or some other form of payment. When certain anti-bribery laws are also violated, this could compound the charges and lead to more severe punishments. If the company is capable of remaining after the owner or a manager has been removed, it may be possible for business transactions to continue. However, this is usually only possible if the entire company has not been implicated. When the owner is responsible for coercion, bribery or similar actions, he or she may place the business in jeopardy.

Business and Legal Enforcement

Through adhering to the Act and similar laws, companies are striving to keep each other held to higher standards. This is important for crimes of bribery where influence is provided to the company or just the owner. When competition is no longer fair, one business may lead the rest and revenue may increase exponentially. However, when this is through unfair and illegal practices, the customer is often who pays for these wrongdoings. Then, prices may skyrocket and quality is no longer a concern. When government officials hold the power over these concerns, the business is able to bypass numerous regulations and statutes.

By holding other companies accountable for their actions, a single business is able to ensure competition is fair and reasonable between organizations and for the customer. When products of one type are provided to more stores or at a cheaper cost, it is possible to create a monopoly. When these unlawful actions affect the market, other prices are affected. If the items are not made with quality resources, then they may cause complications for the consumer. Then, litigation is possible, and the business may face paying damages to multiple customers.

Legal Help with the FCPA

When businesses work together to ensure laws and acts are adhered to, it is possible to keep companies to certain principles, standards and a code of ethics. For violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act it is important to seek a lawyer to ensure the company is held accountable. Legal representation may protect the victim of these actions and help pursue compensation.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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