Hogan Lovells’ bribery and corruption task force has released its fourth annual review of the latest developments in anti-bribery and corruption regulation and enforcement around the world. In the review, the firm said that it expects increased enforcement against executives and enforcement co-operation between countries.
The firm added that a key finding from this year’s review is that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have made enforcement actions against individuals the clear priority, while simultaneously rewarding organisations and individuals for self-disclosing corrupt activities.
The review notes that a rise in reported declinations — or matters where the DoJ declined to require a settlement from the company involved — has followed the DoJ’s publication of the FCPA Resource Guide. The DoJ’s press releases and public filings suggest that, in each of the new declinations, the company in question voluntarily disclosed the matter to the government and took steps to enhance its compliance programme.
Peter Spivack, co-head of Hogan Lovells’ investigations, white collar and fraud practice group, said: ‘These declinations are an encouraging sign that enforcement at agencies are making good on their promise to provide meaningful credit to companies that self-report suspected violations and take prompt remedial actions.’
According to this year’s review, corporate executives and employees faced an increased amount of scrutiny in 2013. The DoJ and foreign enforcement agencies monitored travel and entertainment expenses involving foreign officials closely. Hogan Lovells said that the DoJ’s pursuit of criminal charges against executives illustrated how the agency has continued to strive for a model that rewards self-disclosure by corporations while aggressively prosecuting individual violators.
Another key finding of the review is that anti-bribery legislation and enforcement outside of the US and the UK became stronger in 2013, and that cross-border enforcement is continuing to move forward. Recent enforcement actions against oil and gas, mining and fashion companies exemplified this shift in collaborative enforcement trends in regions including the Republic of Guinea, Argentina, Brazil, China, France and Nigeria.