When it comes to compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), multinational companies that adopt a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy may come to regret their hands-off approach. Compliance with the FCPA’s laws against bribing foreign officials has recently come under increased scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), and the plaintiffs’ bar. At the same time, jurisdictions outside of the United States have also exhibited a renewed interest in enforcing their own FCPA-like laws.
For individual officers and directors, the environment is equally challenging. Of particular concern may be an emerging focus by the SEC to hold individual officers personally liable for failing to implement proper internal controls designed to prevent FCPA violations.