Vol. XXXVII No. 2

To Bribe a Prince: Clarifying the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Through Comparisons to the United Kingdom’s Bribery Act of 2010

Abstract: Bribery in overseas markets is a major concern for U.S. foreign policy. In the 1970s, after allegations of corruption abroad, the U.S. Congress passed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The FCPA outlines civil and criminal sanctions for corporations that seek to bribe “foreign officials.” It also inspired responses from other states, including the United Kingdom’s Bribery Act, enacted in 2010. For decades, the federal government enforced the FCPA only sporadically. Since the turn of the twenty-first century, however, increased prosecutions under the FCPA by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission led to a corresponding increase in criticism of the statute. Responding to these critiques in November 2012, the two agencies co-authored a FCPA guideline. Viewing this new manual in comparison to prior implementation of the FCPA and to the Bribery Act may help determine the most effective tools to combat foreign bribery.

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