Think tank calls for US anti-bribery law reform

By James Barnes

22 January 2013 at 17:17 BST

A US research institute has criticised recent federal government guidance on the country's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, claiming the 1977 statute is crying out for reform.

Anti-bribery legislation not up to the job?

According to Corporate Counsel magazine, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research criticised both the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, pointing to a lack of judicial oversight in FCPA cases.
‘We’re worried about what seems to be fairly unfettered Justice Department interpretation’ of the law, said James Copland, director of the institute’s entre for egal policy.


The think tank’s report – The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: Aggressive Enforcement and Lack of Judicial Review Create Uncertain Terrain for Businesses -- seeks to reveal the use of non-prosecution and deferred-prosecution agreements between companies and enforcement agencies to settle cases. Such agreements can protect a company’s reputation by heading off criminal prosecution, while allowing the government to impose penalties and compliance requirements at the same time.
Mr Copland added that the enforcement agencies’ departure from the statute is a ‘significant problem.’ The application of the law ‘should involve a broader policy consideration by elected officials,’ he said.


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