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Understanding the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

A discussion about the basic concepts of FCPA

In some cultures “greasing the wheels” has long been accepted as the normal way business gets done. For a while U.S. based companies attempted to blend in with local business cultures. As a result of this and other factors in the mid-1970s, the U.S. grew increasingly uncomfortable with the practice of making illegal payments (i.e. bribes) to foreign officials to facilitate international business transactions. In response, Congress enacted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977.

Today, U.S. companies engaged in international commerce should actively protect themselves against FCPA violations.  A key first step to creating a program of effective policies and procedures to help mitigate the risk of a violation, is to understand the background of the FCPA, key terminology, and its most critical parts.

In "Understanding the FCPA," Kim Andreasson, senior editor, Economist Intelligence Unit, interviews Nina Gross, director, Forensic & Dispute Services, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, and Richard Grime, partner, O’Melveny & Myers LLP discuss these basic concepts of FCPA as well as how a company may avoid violation of this vigorously enforced legislation.

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As used in this document, ‘Deloitte’ means Deloitte LLP (and its subsidiaries). Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.

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