Five big pitfalls in Asia

Author: | Published: 1 Dec 2009

There has been a palpable increase in enforcement of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), with a good part of it involving persons, entities, and activities in Asia.

In general terms, the anti-bribery provisions in the FCPA prohibit the offering, authorising or giving, with corrupt intent and for improper business purposes, of anything of value to those that qualify as "foreign officials". Indicators cogently suggest, and our experience regularly confirms, that Asia is a likely target for the enforcers of the FCPA. In fact, most countries in Asia (with the possible exceptions of Australia and New Zealand) are consistently rated high-risk jurisdictions for corruption.

Despite Asia's disparate and diverse languages, cultures, legal systems and levels of economic development, we regularly encounter five common FCPA-related pitfalls that are not appreciated by those doing business in Asia. Often, those persons or entities act like the frog in the old Chinese proverb,...