The Feds Finally Explain When It's Cool To Bribe Foreign Officials

Shady Businessmen

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The U.S. government has recently been cracking down on foreign bribery under a Watergate-era law.But the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is kind of a squishy area of the law.

Can the feds use the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions to sue business people who wine and dine foreign officials?

Well, the U.S. government just released long-anticipated guidance that answers just that question.

Cab fare, “reasonable” meals and entertainment, and “appropriate” gifts are generally OK under the FCPA.

But business people should think twice before getting foreign officials single large gifts or lots of little ones that might add up to bribery, according to the new guidance.

One government official was given a country club membership, household maintenance expenses, a $20,000 car, and a limo. That’s not OK, according to the feds.

In addition to avoiding lavish or frequent gifts, companies should make sure “travel” expenses are for legitimate business, the feds say.

In one instance, a New Jersey telecom shipped 315 Chinese officials to the U.S., purportedly to “inspect” facilities, when in reality they were going to the Grand Canyon and Disney World.

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