In recent years we have not only seen a steady increase in the acknowledgment of the important role businesses play in the global fight against corruption, but also an emerging debate on mechanisms that could motivate businesses to counter corruption and how different societal actors could use and target these motivations.
The giving and receiving of gifts and entertainment are commonly accepted business practices the world over. They help to form and to strengthen business relationships and can be used to mark important business achievements.
The risks will vary depending on the buyer, the target and the structure of the transaction. The main risks are: (i) acquiring a company that is tainted by corruption, and therefore assuming criminal and civil liability; (ii) paying too much for the acquired company or business, to the extent that part of the revenue and/or profit is based on corrupt behavior, and is therefore not sustainable; and (iii) risk to reputation of the buyer. In addition, there is the risk associated with the drain on management of resolving any issue along these lines that does show up.
Several compliance officers have indeed been questioned by authorities during judicial investigations and have even been subjected to personal investigations. Authorities naturally try to determine what exactly the compliance officer was aware of in any given corruption allegation.
Whether at headquarter or subsidiary level, compliance officers commonly wonder what their judicial responsibilities would be in the event of an investigation into an alleged act of corruption.
I understand very well that operational people in the companies are saying: “Please, do not issue new guidance. We are already not able to deal with the existing ones.”
The UK Law Commission (LC) was tasked with drafting a suitable Bribery Act. I was part of the LC Advisory Panel. Originally, it was to be for a new Corruption Act but that was the first thing we ditched because bribery is easier to define than corruption.
The Global Principles of Business Ethics is an initiative launched by both the Aerospace Industries Association of America (AIA) and the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD).
For the last few years, the Brazilian society has been voicing their collective dissatisfaction with continual cases of endemic corruption, especially the ones emanating from the political bodies. After finally ascending to power in the early 2000’s, the Labor Party was expected to bring a higher level of ethics to the way government (at all levels; federal, state, municipal, etc.) conducts itself.