The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act 2010 compared
The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act 2010 compared

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act 2010 compared
  • Background to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
  • The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act anti-bribery provisions
  • The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act accounting transparency provisions
  • Global developments after the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
  • The major differences between the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Bribery Act 2010
  • Enforcement and related matters
  • Assistance to the company

Background to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is a broad and very well-enforced piece of legislation that has been well bedded down since its introduction in 1977. It was introduced to deal with the very widespread problem in the early 1970s of US companies paying bribes to foreign governments.

The FCPA has two categories of provisions:

  1. anti-bribery provisions—these are narrower than those in the UK Bribery Act 2010 (BA 2010) in a number of respects

  2. accounting provisions requiring transparency of accounts in all companies that file a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)—these have no equivalent in BA 2010 (which entered into force on 1 July 2011)

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act anti-bribery provisions

The anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA prevent:

  1. US persons, companies, company officers, directors, employees and agents, and

  2. others acting within the US

from corruptly paying, offering, or promising anything of value to a foreign official in order to obtain or retain business. The provisions apply to:

  1. US persons

  2. certain foreign issuers of securities, and

  3. foreign firms and persons who take (themselves or by agents) any act in furtherance of such a corrupt payment while in the US

The provisions prohibit:

  1. the wilful use of the US mails or any means of instrumentality of interstate commerce