Uphill Battle of Putting Bribery Offenders Behind Bars

Rappler.com

The New York Times highlights how one major anti-corruption and -bribery effort fell through last week after US federal prosecutors withdrew a high-profile case against an American operation doing business in a tiny Africa nation due to use of a questionable informant and the conduct of the undercover agents. This raised concerns about how the federal officials are seemingly overstepping boundaries in trying to fight corruption overseas. The US has one of the toughest laws on anti-bribery, where wrongdoers are indicted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits anyone with business in the United States from bribing foreign officials.

At least 78 corporations are under investigation for possible violations of the FCPA, including big business names like Avon, Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard, Pfizer and Wal-Mart Stores. There have been dramatic arrests, but US officials have not been very successful in putting a good number wrongdoers behind bars.

This law has cited Philippine deals in the past. In the case of Siemens, where 8 former executives and contractors were charged last December, Filipino customs officials were dragged into it for the purchase of some airport security equipment.

And recently, casino magnate Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts Ltd cited the FCPA in a suit against business partner Kazuo Okada citing findings that bribes and improper gifts were made to regulators from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Board (Pagcor).

Read New York Times’ piece here.