Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits payments or gifts of anything of value, directly or indirectly, to a foreign official for the purpose of influencing the official to give business or obtaining an improper advantage in securing or retaining business. Enforcement is handled by the U.S. Department of Justice, which interprets the terms “anything of value,” and “foreign official” broadly.

“Anything of value” may be construed to include use of materials, facilities, equipment, entertainment, meals, lodging, and transportation.

“Foreign official” may be construed to include employees of state-owned or controlled entities, such as hospitals, laboratories, and businesses.

Violations of the FCPA can result in serious criminal penalties against the individual who made the unlawful payment as well as the entity on behalf of which the payment was made. All financial transactions should be well documented to demonstrate that they are lawful and authentic.