In 1977, the United States government passed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to establish criminal and civil penalties for payments or promises of payments made by US corporations (or US nationals) to foreign government officials ("foreign officials") to obtain or retain business. There has been a significant spike in FCPA investigations and prosecutions by the US Department of Justice and the SEC in recent years - from nine in 2003 to 91 in 2008. The legislation has two main areas of focus: the anti-bribery provisions, which apply to US issuers, US domestic companies and individuals and foreign companies; and the books and records provisions, which are applicable to issuers only.
This means that even though the FCPA is a US regulation, Canadian companies and organizations need to consider their FCPA risks if they:
Canadian companies should also know that the FCPA's definition of a foreign official is fairly broad. It can include, for example, a business owner who is also a country's finance minister, or a doctor employed by a government-owned or managed institution. As the number of FCPA enforcements and the size of the penalties levied continue to grow, Canadian companies need to know how to mitigate the risks and put in place effective anti-corruption controls for their organizations.
How PwC can help
PricewaterhouseCoopers has worked on some of the highest-profile international cases involving the FCPA investigation, remediation and prevention projects. Our FCPA professionals are drawn from our forensic, risk and internal audit specialty areas and have assisted clients in developing and implementing anti-corruption compliance initiatives. Unlike most other firms, we are not focused merely on the forensic work needed after a violation has been detected. Instead, our approach is more centred on risk assessment and mitigation, helping our clients bridge the gap between the corruption risk and the implementation of cost-effective controls to mitigate the risk. This makes our services especially effective for Canadian companies who fall under FCPA jurisdiction.
Specifically, our FCPA practice can help your business by:
PwC Canada has helped organizations doing business in emerging but high-risk markets (including Africa, Eastern Europe and South Asia) to establish effective anti-corruption procedures and controls. We can do the same for your company. For more information on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and similar legislation, and how it might impact your business, contact us today.