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FCPA Inc. Desperately Needs Some Basic Standards

standards

In 2010 I coined the term “FCPA Inc.” as shorthand term used to describe a vibrant, niche industry consisting of numerous market participants and not just lawyers. Regardless of what you think of the term, FCPA Inc. has become part of the FCPA lexicon and it is undisputed that FCPA Inc. is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Most mature niche industries have basic standards (a common language if you will) concerning basic issues relevant to the industry. However, FCPA Inc. has none and it resembles the wild west in many instances.

Consider the following basic question: how many corporate enforcement actions were there last year and how much money did the U.S. government collect in those enforcement actions? As highlighted below, certain FCPA Inc. participants have answered this question four different ways.

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Is This Appropriate?

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© ClassicStock / Masterfile
Model Release: Yes
Property Release: No
1960s MAN THINKING HAND PENCIL ON CHIN WEARING EYEGLASSES SERIOUS EXPRESSION

Gibson Dunn is generally viewed as having a top tier Foreign Corrupt Practices Act practice.

The firm’s Year-End FCPA Update is always a quality read including this year’s version.

Yet, highlighted below is a paragraph from the Update that caught my eye and I ask: seriously – is this appropriate?

Early in the 36-page document is the following paragraph:

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Funny, also funny, corruption in the anti-corruption industry, the head of the DOJ’s FCPA Unit writes, reasons for the general increase in FCPA enforcement, scrutiny alert, asset recovery, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Funny

This recent FCPA Blog post asked “what’s the most important FCPA case ever” and stated: “The Africa Sting showed how far the feds would go to make a splashy FCPA case. But the final lesson was that using a big sting to concoct a supposed industry-wide conspiracy was a bad idea. The judge didn’t buy it, and neither did a couple of juries.”

Funny that the post doesn’t mention that the the person at the center of this failed, manufactured case was its current Contributing Editor and training partner Richard Bistrong.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Funny headline, just plain silly, new SEC FCPA Unit Chief, parallel, scrutiny alerts and updates, company continues to “boil the ocean,” and ISO 37001 related. It’s all here in the Friday Roundup.

Funny Headline

This Global Investigations Review post contains the headline “Former FCPA Unit Chiefs Defend the ‘Revolving Door’”.

That’s funny. I suppose if I moved from a government enforcement attorney position to a multimillion dollar position in FCPA Inc. defending companies against the enforcement climate I helped create, I might defend the practice as well.

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The Use Of Fear In FCPA Inc. Marketing

fear3

Today is Halloween and the objective of the day is to scare and spook people.

Clearly business organizations competing in the global marketplace need to be cognizant of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act risk and react accordingly. Thus, a certain amount of angst about the FCPA (and other forms of legal exposure) is rational.

On the other hand, some (perhaps much) of the FCPA angst is an irrational response to the flood of information disseminated by FCPA Inc. participants who frequently, and with presumed business interests in mind, use fear in marketing to create various (unlikely) doomsday scenarios and this post highlights how fear-based marketing is common among certain FCPA Inc. participants.

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