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Understanding the FCPA
The combat bribing of foreign governments and foreign businesses, the United States government passed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The FCPA made it a criminal act for someone to bribe a foreign government or foreign business to assist in obtaining or retaining business. If you have been charged with violating the FCPA, you could be facing heavy fines and imprisonment. This is why it is essential that you contact a seasoned lawyer immediately. An attorney could walk you through the legal process so that you have a better understanding of the FCPA in Michigan.Defining a Foreign Official Under the FCPA
Defining what a foreign official is under the FCPA can be somewhat expansive. It does not only apply to the foreign official themselves, but it can also apply to subcontractors and people who do business with the government.
Even though an individual may not be offering the bribe to the Secretary of State in a foreign nation, they could be bribing a subcontractor for business and that would be a violation.Offering Items of Value
A person should be extremely reluctant to offer anything of value. The statute specifically says that a bribe is a payment of money or anything of value to any person while knowing that, in whole or in part, that money or thing of value would be offered to a foreign official to influence their decision.
Even when an individual is dealing with subcontractors or people who may be perceived as soliciting on behalf of the foreign official, an individual is going to be held liable under the statute. The best advice for someone is to just not give anyone anything other than the best deal they can possibly make. Any item of value that is being offered is going to pose a real problem for that person.
Another important aspect of understanding the FCPA in Michigan is that the FCPA prohibits gratuities. Anything that could be seen as having the intent to influence the action of the foreign official either directly or indirectly is prohibited by the FCPA.Important Takeaways from the FCPA
Whenever an individual engages with anyone from a foreign government, transparency is 100 percent significant. A person cannot offer them anything. It might not seem like a problem to offer an expensive vacation to someone from one of the companies the person is trying to do business with, but an individual has to understand that they FCPA is going to view that as a bribe.
It is not even enough to make sure that a person is following the laws of the country where they are operating. An individual has to always remember that the laws of this country are going to apply, even if they are outside the United States when they are conducting business. An attorney could help someone build a defense if they facing an FCPA investigation.Circumstances of an FCPA Charge
Many times, FCPA charges are initiated when an employee of a large company sees that someone in the company is bribing foreign officials and then they want to report it to law enforcement. An employer not only has to be worried about their own actions but also the people they work with. If someone becomes aware of misconduct, then they could bring it to the attention of the superiors and appropriate officials.
Understanding the FCPA in Michigan could be complex, however, a dedicated lawyer could assist you if you have any questions.