This is not the first time I’ve written about this general topic nor is it likely to be the last.
In the minds of some, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance is easy – you just don’t bribe.
However, as recent enforcement activity has demonstrated, FCPA enforcement actions often include allegations about internships (BNY Mellon and Qualcomm), sports tickets (BHP Billiton), travel and entertainment (GlaxoSmithKline and several other enforcement actions), charitable donations (Nu Skin) and other inconsequential things of value such as flowers, cigarettes, and golf in the morning and beer drinking in the evening (Eli Lilly, SciClone Pharmaceuticals and several other enforcement actions).
In other words, the underlying activity is legal and socially acceptable in most situations. In fact, it is often called effective sales and marketing, wining and dining the customer, or maintaining good will. Yet when such activity is focused, directly or indirectly, on a “foreign official” the U.S. government is inclined to call it bribery.