Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

FCPA *Anticorruption legislation passed by the U.S. Congress in 1977. The FCPA requires U.S. corporations to maintain adequate *internal control systems throughout their international operations. The FCPA also forbids the payment of *bribes to foreign officials. In some countries, small *gifts are an essential means of doing business: The FCPA acknowledges this by permitting *facilitating payments, which are intended merely to encourage the correct and timely performance of routine duties. However, the difference between a bribe and a facilitating payment is often a thin one, and is sometimes decided in court. Owing to the increase in auditing and monitoring that it stimulated, the FCPA has been described humorously as the "internal auditor full-employment act" (Izzard, 1988). (Similar comments were heard following the passing of the *Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002.) Contravention of the FCPA can result in severe fines and custodial sentences, and it has had an enormous impact on the manner in which U.S. * multinational corporations manage their affairs. Although many countries have anticorruption legislation, the United States is unique in having laws of the FCPA’s reach and severity. Further reading: Vanasco (1999) Web link: www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.html

Auditor's dictionary. 2014.

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