The panel started of with parallel international investigations. This is a new topic because for years there was no other country enforcing anti-bribery laws. There are some limitations on investigations. In particular, there is the secrecy of grand jury information. The Justice Department is willing to get a court order for the benefit of a foreign government’s prosecution.
As for self-reporting in jurisdictions outside the US, the panelists see instances of disclosures to other governments. Companies want a one stop shop for disclosure.
Due diligence on agents, distributors, and in connection with M&A activity continues to be a challenge, In a KPMG Survey, 82% respondents found performing effective due diligence on foreign agents/third parties “somewhat” to “very” challenging. Two of the three DOJ FCPA opinion releases in 2008 address merger and acquisition due diligence matters: 08-01 and 08-02.
Of course, the current global financial crisis may increase opportunities for corruption, given the greater competitive atmosphere and fewer resources being available.
You want to conduct proactive due diligence. Require the third party to fill out a Questionnaire that will include among other things, FCPA representations and warranties, disclosure of government affiliations, employment information, company ownership. Conduct media and public record searches. Also conduct due diligence evaluations on company personnel. Agreements should contain FCPA specific language, including audit rights.
In high risk countries, be sure to focus on the safety of your employees. If there is a concern for physical safety, pay and get out.
After an acquisition, make sure that you quickly roll out your policies and procedures. Start the monitoring as soon as you can.