Yesterday, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act turned 42.
Thus, an appropriate time to highlight that the FCPA has always been a law much broader than its name suggests. Sure, the FCPA contains anti-bribery provisions which concern foreign bribery. Sure, the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions can be implicated in foreign bribery schemes.
However, the fact remains that most FCPA enforcement actions (that is enforcement actions that charge or find violations of the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions) have nothing to do with foreign bribery and these provisions are among the most generic legal provisions one can possibly find.
Case in point is this recent SEC enforcement action against MetLife for “long-standing” internal control failures and associated books and records issues.