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Individual Liability and the FCPA: The Brave New World of Risk

David S. Krakoff & James T. Parkinson

January 24, 2011

For individuals working on international business matters, risks come in a wide variety of forms. Commercial risks, legal and regulatory uncertainty, reputational risks, and supply chain or travel disruptions — even personal safety — are frequently faced by executives working outside the United States. Anticipating and managing these risks is the daily work of operating in an international arena, offering both challenges and opportunities.

Recently, however, one element of risk has become far more acute: The risk of prosecution under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has never been higher. A review of recent enforcement activity demonstrates that more executives, whether from the U.S. or another country, have been indicted, prosecuted and sentenced in the past two years than at any other time during the 33-year history of the FCPA. International business executives face a brave new world of risk.

This article will review the enforcement landscape that individuals face, define the circumstances under which a person might violate the FCPA and offer guidance for those operating internationally to help minimize the risks of FCPA liability.

Published by Westlaw Expert Commentary Series