Global Insights into the Anti-Corruption Landscape

I am attending the Global Ethics Summit 2010, hosted by Dow Jones and Ethisphere. Here are my notes, live from this session:

Dow Jones Risk & Compliance presents the results of a recent survey of current anti-corruption regulation, emerging trends and the impact on corporations around the world.The speaker was Rupert de Ruig, Managing Director, Risk and Compliance, Dow Jones & Company.

He started by looking back at 2009. He labeled the “year of the individual.” People were increasing being prosecuted and going to jail for compliance failures. There was an extension of control person to impose liability for supervisors/directors who were directly involved in the bad actions.

The United Kingdom is implementing a bribery bill. It’s expected to become law in 2010. The purpose is to make it more clear what is a bribe to make it easier to prosecute. It goes beyond the FCPA because it also covers bribes to private companies, not just public officials. It’s applicable if you have operations in the UK.

As corruption continues is some jurisdictions, companies are not entering the markets in those countries. Since the reach of the FCPA is extra-territorial, you need to be careful where you operate.

Equatorial Guinea Case Study

Rupert used this country as a case study. He pointed out the enormous wealth due to its oil reserves. That wealth has not made its way to the larger community. There is an oligarchy of officials that retain most of the wealth, largely through corruption. There is a need to better keep corrupt money out of the United States.

Bringing Corrupt Officials to Justice

652 senior government officials were arrested in 2009 for corruption, with 17 from North America, 138 from Africa, and 167 from Europe (including Eastern Europe and Russia).

Dow Jones State of Anti-Corruption

Dow Jones recently published their 2009 State of Anti-Corruption.

They found 30% of the survey takers said their company did not have an anti-corruption program.

They found that business expansion has been limited by the FCPA. They are concerned that the cost of bribery in some countries is too great. (I would guess that it is both the direct dollar cost and the cost of potential prosecution.)

A third of companies felt they lost business to a competitor who paid a bribe.