Hogan Lovells looks ahead with 2023 Bribery and Corruption Outlook: Good governance key to meeting increased vigor from global investigators
Los Angeles, London, 30 January 2023 — Lawyers from global law firm Hogan Lovells’ Investigations, White Collar and Fraud (IWCF) practice anticipate a robust enforcement environment as the world continues to move past the Covid-19 pandemic, and enforcement agencies grapple with a host of priorities across regions and industries.
Hogan Lovells publishes its 2023 Global Bribery and Corruption Outlook today, providing an annual analysis of regional and industry-specific developments. A key theme running through the report this year is the importance of encouraging and demonstrating good governance.
“One of the big shifts in the regulatory environment that we’ve seen is that companies are expected to have greater oversight of their employees, subsidiaries, and third parties,” said Hogan Lovells partner Stephanie Yonekura, Global Leader of the IWCF practice area. “Regulators and enforcers want to see companies taking proactive steps to spot wrongdoing and promote an ethical culture,” said Los Angeles-based Yonekura.
The Outlook provides a snapshot of political and legislative changes impacting investigations and enforcement around the world, and what can be expected in the year ahead. Notable trends include an increase in ESG responsibilities, the impact of fundamental changes to working practices post-COVID, and economic sanctions being used as both legal and political tools.
London partner Liam Naidoo, deputy leader of the IWCF practice, said: “ Across the world, enforcement agencies and regulators are adjusting their priorities to meet geopolitical challenges—expanding their definition of corporate crime to encompass fraud, human rights abuses, environmental misdemeanors as well as corruption.”
Stepped up Expectations
In the U.S., the U.S. Department of Justice has made fighting bribery and corruption a top priority, and as part of this effort has recently revised its Corporate Enforcement Policy (CEP) to encourage companies to more fully cooperate with government investigations.
Washington-based Partner Shelita Stewart, co-editor of the Outlook, commented: “The revised CEP offers new and concrete incentives to companies to promote immediate self-disclosure, meaningful cooperation, and timely remediation. The policy revisions aim to address concerns that fear of prosecution discourages companies from voluntarily disclosing misconduct.”
Shanghai-based partner Calvin Ding, who also co-edited the Outlook, highlighted several developments that will impact clients outside of the United States. “China abandoning its zero-Covid strategy should spur a return to better growth in China. At the same time, we are seeing renewed appetite for enforcement wherever Chinese companies operate and invest, and that includes in Africa and Latin America. Political and leadership changes, particularly in the latter region, are also likely to create more investigative pressure.”
Other notable trends:
• Enhanced cross-border cooperation
• Potential impact of senior leadership changes at the UK’s Serious Fraud Office
• Increasing focus on Environmental, Social and Governance investigations
• Dawn raids on the rise in Germany, both corporate and domestic
• Post-COVID bottleneck creating a greater risk of bribery and corruption issues
• Increased use of sanctions as a legal and political tool
• Broader Foreign Corrupt Practices Act definition of foreign officials creating risk for companies in the United States
• Companies expected to be more proactive, with regulators scrutinising internal procedures and culture.
In addition to global trends, the Outlook outlines industry-related themes, including:
• Supply chain pressure in the global construction industry
• Fallout from digital currency bankruptcies
• Increased risk in the global construction industry Further scrutiny of the relationships between pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare industry, particularly in the United States, Germany, and Italy
• New entrants in the global financial industry, driven by FinTech
• New investigation frontlines in the Brazilian energy industry.
The 2023 Global Bribery and Corruption Outlook is available here.