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Strategies for Minimizing Risk Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Related Laws

Mike Koehler

In the minds of some, complying with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related laws such as the UK Bribery Act is easy: ‘you just don’t bribe’. The reality, as sophisticated professionals know, is not so simple. This book is for professionals across various disciplines who recognize the difficulties of compliance and want to learn strategies for minimizing risk under aggressively enforced corporate bribery laws. The book uses issue-spotting scenarios to present risk and guides professionals through various components of compliance best practices from the fundamentals of conducting a risk assessment and effectively communicating compliance expectations, to implementing and overseeing compliance strategies.
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Chapter 6: Compliance best practices and the fundamentals of conducting a risk assessment

Mike Koehler


Having an element-specific understanding of the FCPA’s provisions and how they are enforced is a critical first step toward minimizing risk. However, you also need to be knowledgeable about the wide body of so-called compliance “best practices” and Chapter 6 begins by highlighting various potentially relevant sources. At first blush these various sources may seem a bit overwhelming, but this chapter breaks these best practices into bite-size pieces that are easier for you to digest. A common thread in all sources of best practices is the importance of conducting a risk assessment. After all, rarely does a compliance professional receive questions tied to specific legal elements such as “is this customer an instrumentality of a foreign government such that its employees may be deemed a ‘foreign official’ under the FCPA” or “does this planned corporate hospitality event represent a ‘reasonable’ and ‘bona fide’ expenditure ‘directly related’ to a business purpose.” Rather, in the real world compliance professionals listen to stories or receive information and from these real-world stories and information are expected to spot risk. Chapter 6 graduates you to the next level of compliance proficiency by highlighting the fundamentals of conducting a risk assessment. From there, and with your “FCPA goggles” on, you will complete a skills exercise by reviewing generic business information of a real company and categorizing the company’s unique risk points. Perhaps the company’s customer base presents risk; perhaps the company’s unique product or service presents risk; or perhaps the company’s go-to-market strategy presents risk? It will be up to you and your “FCPA goggles” to spot the risk and devise strategies for minimizing the risk.

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