All about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is something that all companies have to abide by. But what exactly is it?

Overview of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The act was passed in 1977 by the Senate on May 5th. The act itself makes it unlawful for different individuals or companies to pay off of bribe foreign government officials in order to procure business or engage in foreign corrupt practices. The act is in effect regardless if the person is on American ground or not. It is not only money that is of concern here, but anything that can be considered to have value.

Private Investigator

Who Does this Cover?

  • Corporations
  • Any individual who is a citizen, national, or resident of the county.

Provisions Involved

  • Anti-bribery provisions: since 1977 they have applied to all people but since 1998 with certain amendments, they also applied to foreign firms or anyone who in some way enables or receives corrupt payments.
  • Accounting provisions: this requires corporations covered by the provisions to make and keep books and records that accurately and fairly reflect the transactions of the corporation and to devise and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls.

Recent Examples:

In April of 2012 an article in The New York Times reported that Walmart de Mexico paid bribes to officials throughout Mexico so that they could obtain construction permits. There had been credible evidence that Mexican and American Laws had been broken.


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