FCPA and the Wall Street Journal

Not since the Siemens FCPA case have I seen the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act show up on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.  That case was highlighted because of billion dollar fine.

The big part of today’s story was the number of active FCPA cases. According to the story there are at least 120 active cases: U.S. Cracks Down on Corporate Bribes. There are two big names on the list of companies currently under Justice Department review: Sun Microsystems Inc. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC. the Sun disclosure probably came from the diligence in connection with its acquisition by Oracle.

Dionne Searcy, author of the article, believes the renewed emphasis on enforcing the FCPA “began in the wake of a series of business scandals earlier this decade, including the collapse of Enron, that stirred up a new corporate-reform movement.”

When the FCPA was first passed there was concern that it would limit the competitive of the United States. If Non-U.S. companies were paying bribes to win contracts, then U.S. firms would lose the business unless they broke the law. The online comments to the article bring up those same thoughts.