Multilingual legal translation and professional legal interpretation services play an important role in the FCPA compliance issues. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is a federal anti-bribery statute that prohibits US individuals and US companies, their subsidiaries, personnel, shareholders and agents from paying, offering, or promising to pay anything of value to foreign officials – either directly or indirectly, for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. As explained in an earlier Translation for Lawyers blog post, the FCPA is vague on definitions. To ensure that you and your company remain compliant, here are some tips:
- Start by accessing your FCPA risk: Conduct a formal risk assessment by looking at such factors as the type of business and transactions your company is involved in, where these transactions take place, and the degree that these transactions involve government officials. Be sure to also evaluate your agents, consultants, brokers, distributors and other intermediaries for similar risk factors.
- Develop a compliance policy: This should address all relevant issues and should be embedded in the company’s overall compliance program and code of conduct. HR should include it as part of all employee trainings to be conducted in the languages of the country where your company is doing business. All FCPA training and testing materials will need to professionally translated into the official languages of that country.
- Provide regular personnel trainings and updates: At a minimum, your top executives should be included, but it is best if all personnel who may come in contact with foreign officials be included too.
- Built an FCPA compliance team: this should include legal, financial reporting and internal audit personnel.
- Identify countries where in-house counsel and other affiliates fall outside normal attorney privilege doctrines. This will require the use of a foreign language translation. Based on these findings, make decisions on using outside counsel for the company’s FCPA compliance program.
- Ensure financial department keeps accurate books and a system of internal accounting controls.
- Incorporate FCPA review as part of all due diligence procedures, particularly in Merger and Acquisition or Joint Venture initiatives.