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Cooperation is key: Worldwide Authorities Join Forces to Fight Corporate Crime, According to Annual Global Bribery and Corruption Review From Hogan Lovells

13 February 2017

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Orla O'Donovan

Public Relations Senior Adviser (Disputes)
+44 20 7296 2815

Hogan Lovells has released its seventh annual Global bribery and corruption review. Written by the firm's market-leading global Investigations and White Collar Fraud (IWCF) team, the review examines the latest international developments and significant cases in anti-bribery and corruption regulation and enforcement, and anticipates trends for 2017.

Perhaps surprisingly, given current seismic changes in the global geopolitical landscape, international cooperation emerges as a strong anti-bribery and corruption trend, with nations around the world increasingly coordinating their efforts.

The review highlights that in the U.S. the charge is being led by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which share jurisdiction to enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) along with the FBI, which has added to its FCPA unit, creating three dedicated investigative teams. The list of foreign law enforcement agencies that cooperate with U.S. authorities is growing each year with joint investigations conducted with at least 20 countries in the past year alone.

Crispin Rapinet, global head of the IWCF practice at Hogan Lovells, said:

"2016 saw an uptick in FCPA enforcement, and increased international cooperation coupled with the FBI's three new dedicated teams indicates that 2017 will likely see a further increase in coordinated, cross-border, corporate enforcement actions in 2017."

Cooperation is also a hot topic in the UK. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has renewed its determination to use the 'stick' of investigations and prosecutions, but it still offers the 'carrot' of leniency to companies that cooperate. The Global bribery and corruption review looks at the question of how much cooperation by corporates under investigation is enough to satisfy the SFO, and whether the benefits of cooperation outweigh the risks of prosecution, with several recent cases shedding light on what the SFO and English courts expect when it comes to cooperation.

Crispin Rapinet says:

"The SFO can’t, at least formally, treat the assertion of privilege as a lack of cooperation, but it clearly seeks to encourage and reward waiver. It is also prepared to litigate over “false or exaggerated” claims to privilege concerning materials produced during an internal investigation."

The review also explores global markets and topics including:

  • Latin America, where governmental bodies have begun to improve anti-corruption enforcement. Brazil has revamped its approach to corruption and has seen notable results. Mexico has new and revised laws that bring about a raft of changes, from penalties for private individuals to protection for whistleblowers.
  • Draft amendments to China’s Anti-Unfair Competition Law, if enacted, will see Chinese law take a step closer to Western legislation in 2017.
  • Australia is adapting its legislative approach to corporate crime.
  • South East Asia faces a challenging year ahead, as anticorruption enforcement in the region remains unpredictable, with a few exceptions such as Singapore.
  • Africa has an embedded bribery and corruption problem as well as other barriers to doing business, but in 2017 it has reached a turning point.
  • Cross-border investigations are fast becoming commonplace for global companies, bringing myriad issues around local laws, authorities, and internal stakeholders. The Global bribery and corruption review sets out the steps companies can take to minimize the impact of an investigation.

For more information about the Global bribery and corruption review and about Steering the Course, our global study of 600 chief compliance officers and equivalent, which offers a benchmark of corporate compliance, visit www.hoganlovellsabc.com/.

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