The Canadian Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, S.C. 1998, c. 34 ("CFPOA"), came into force on February 14, 1999. Canada passed this law following its signature of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (the "OECD Bribery Convention"). In June of 2013, amendments to the CFPOA were brought into force, increasing the scope and amplifying the penalties under the law.
The CFPOA, together with Canada's Criminal Code, creates the offences of bribing a foreign public official and engaging in a wide range of accounting practices aimed at concealment of bribery, and allows prosecutions for conspiracy, aiding and abetting and concealment of those offences. Conviction for the CFPOA offences may lead to a maximum of 14 years in prison and to unlimited fines for individuals or companies. The RCMP has stepped up enforcement of the CFPOA in recent years, as evidenced by the current charges relating to SNC Lavalin, the $9.5 million settlement paid by Nike Resources in June 2011, the $10.35 million settlement paid by Griffiths Energy in January 2013 and the June 2014 sentencing of Nazir Karigar to 3 years in prison for attempting to bribe Indian officials.
The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 (amended in 1988 and 1998) regulates the behaviour of US citizens and companies outside the US and requires any company listed on a US securities exchange to keep accurate accounting records. Historically and today the FCPA has been vigourously enforced, leading to hundreds of millions of dollars levied in fines and disgorgement of profits.
The UK's Bribery Act creates a codified anti-bribery and anti-corruption regime for companies with a presence in the UK. Since a number of its provisions go further than similar anti-corruption legislation in North America, North American companies with connections to the UK may potentially be affected as well.
Taken together, the legislation of these three companies, taken together with the similar laws of other OECD countries, creates an interlocking web of obligations that will impact the activities of any company doing business in its own jurisdiction or abroad.
We have developed considerable experience in these matters over the last several years. Sills Egsgard LLP is well-placed to help your company unravel the specific regulatory regimes that will apply to your overseas activities. We work with companies to audit past corporate behaviour in this field and can assist companies to develop the necessary policies, codes of conduct, internal controls, safeguards, and other measures to keep companies in full compliance with applicable laws.
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