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"The prospect of significant prison sentences for individuals should make clear to every corporate executive, every board member, and every sales agent that we will seek to hold you personally accountable for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations." Assistant Attorney General
Lanny A. Breuer1
As jurisdictions around the world increase enforcement of laws and regulations to combat bribery and corruption, multinational organizations are under increasing pressure to improve their anti-bribery and anti-corruption compliance programs to detect and prevent potentially improper payments that could put the organization at risk.
Oil and gas, mining, telecommunications, consumer products, pharmaceuticals, and aerospace and defense companies, in particular, are receiving greater scrutiny.
Executives charged with connections to bribes paid to customs officials
Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) settled a civil action against a consumer products company. Two of the company's executives were charged in connection with bribes paid by its Brazilian subsidiary to customs officials.
Neither of the executives had any involvement in, or knowledge of, any improper cash payments in Brazil. However, the SEC contended that the two executives had violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by failing to adequately supervise the management of policies related to making and keeping accurate records and a system of internal controls.
1Remarks by Lanny A. Breuer, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Department of Justice, at the American Bar Association National Institute on White Collar Crime (as released by the Department of Justice), 26 February 2010.