Achieving an effective FCPA compliance program in the age of COVID-19 and beyond

In this article, we review what you need to know about the updates to the Guide, and we offer practical action items for implementing an effective compliance program in the current environment and beyond.

Incorporating the second edition of DOJ and SEC's FCPA Resource Guide

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has been on a tear in the past year, releasing a series of guidance documents to shape criminal prosecution policies. Just last month, on June 1, 2020, DOJ updated its guidance on the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs, providing increased clarity on some of the key questions prosecutors will ask in assessing the adequacy of corporate compliance programs when making charging, sentencing, and plea and settlement decisions. That was followed closely on July 3, 2020, when DOJ and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) updated A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the Guide) in a second edition that comes out eight years after the original.

The updated Guide – together with the revised Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs – provide chapter and verse about current DOJ and SEC expectations for corporate FCPA compliance, even in the midst of a pandemic. Indeed, DOJ and SEC officials have publicly confirmed that, although they recognize that companies are facing pandemic-related difficulties, their compliance expectations remain the same. And those expectations convey a larger message: adequately-resourced, effective compliance programs are critical for preventing and mitigating the impact of FCPA violations, especially in this period of increased economic pressure.

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