If you’re aware of bribery of a foreign official you may have rights and should speak with an FCPA attorney of Brown, LLC. Cases involving the FCPA could be actionable under various statutes and could entitle an FCPA whistleblower up to 30% of what the government recovers. Statutes that may combat FCPA violations include:

  • The False Claims Act (FCA) if the bribery involves a U.S. Government contract.
  • The New Anti-Corruption initiative from the DOJ, which is supposed to cover non-False Claims Act, FCPA violations.
  • The anti-money laundering program since often times bribery involves laundering money through the banks concealing the true purpose of it.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are projected to flow to FCPA whistleblowers. If you are aware of a potential FCPA violation, call the FCPA law firm of Brown, LLC at (877) 561-0000 for a free consultation.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is a law intended to present individuals and corporations from the United States from bribing foreign government officials to curry favor and/or obtain business. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act also requires companies whose securities are listed in the United States to meet specific accounting principles, including maintaining accurate books/records and having internal accounting controls. Over the years, enforcement of the FCPA has intensified, with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) leading investigations that have resulted in multi-million-dollar FCPA settlements. As global business operations continue to expand, claims under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act continue to grow. The assistance of a dedicated Foreign Corrupt Practices Act lawyer can ensure the necessary requirements under the FCPA are met for a successful claim.

What is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act became law in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter to deter and punish corruption related to international business dealings. Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission became tasked with cracking down on the increased widespread bribery of foreign officials by U.S. Companies at the time. Almost 50 years later, the legislation remains key in dealing with international anti-corruption efforts. The act is intended to promote integrity in international business practices by targeting bribery of foreign officials and imposing strict penalties for individuals and corporations found guilty of misconduct.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is divided into two main components: the anti-bribery provisions and the accounting provisions.

  • Anti-Bribery Provisions: These provisions include offering, paying, promising to pay, or authorizing the payment of any item of value to influence foreign officials’ decisions or gain an unfair advantage in securing or retaining business.
  • Accounting Provisions: Aimed at publicly traded companies, these provisions mandate precise financial records that accurately reflect transactions. Additionally, companies are required to establish and uphold adequate internal controls to ensure compliance with the Act’s requirements and prevent corrupt practices.

Blowing the Whistle Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Whistleblowers, often insiders with direct knowledge of violations, play a crucial role in enforcing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Private individuals who decide to report misconduct under the FCPA can initiate a claim through the Securities and Exchange Commission by using an SEC whistleblower law firm and/or the Department of Justice by filing a False Claims Act lawsuit or using their new anti-corruption initiative through an anti-corruption lawyer.  Finally, these acts tend to overlap with money laundering violations so the AML whistleblower program can come into play as companies conceal the nature of the bribe, but sometimes use US banks to pay them

The SEC’s whistleblower program provides financial rewards up to 30% of the recovery for whistleblowers who come forward if the case succeeds by filing a TCR. The individual can remain anonymous from start to finish with an SEC whistleblower lawyer. Similarly, the AML whistleblower statute provides up to 30% along with anonymity. The FCA up to 30% with no direct provision for anonymity and the new Attorney General program may be up to 30% with anonymity not yet determined. Although The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act also does not directly include protections against retaliation, the statutes invoked like the SEC, FCA and AML have some protections including, but not limited to, prohibiting employment-based discrimination for reporting violations. These protections are designed to encourage individuals to report wrongdoing without fear of retribution

How FCPA Whistleblowers Can Prevent Corruption and Foreign Bribery

Here’s some ways in which Foreign Corrupt Practices Act whistleblowers are key to preventing corruption and foreign bribery:

  • Uncovering Hidden Misconduct: Whistleblowers are often insiders within organizations. Regulatory bodies of the U.S. Government have a finite access to time, information, and resources. Starting with insider information is often the launchpad to uncovering complex networks and behaviors by corrupt organizations.
  • Provide Evidence for Basis of Claim: Unfortunately, the reality is that there is likely more misconduct than what federal officials have the time and resources to investigate and prosecute. Whistleblowers empower federal agencies to initiate investigations and enforcement actions against individuals and corporations. Even a small piece of evidence can be enough to form the basis for federal officials to open an investigation.
  • Preventing Future Violations: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations can result in public exposure and financial penalties that serve as an example to deter other companies from engaging in similar behavior.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Whistleblower Settlements

Settlements involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act have resulted in significant financial penalties for the companies involved and substantial rewards for the whistleblowers who made the disclosures. Below are notable FCPA settlement examples:

  • Siemens AG (2008): Siemens, an electronics and electrical engineering company, agreed to pay a total of $1.6 billion to settle alleged claims—the largest Foreign Corrupt Practices Act settlement at the time. With potential whistleblower awards up to 30% an FCPA whistleblower could have received roughly half a billion dollars in whistleblower rewards if the whistle was blow then right way.
  • Petrobras (2018): The Brazilian controlled oil company, Petrobras, agreed to settle for $1.78 billion with U.S. authorities over violations stemming from “Operation Car Wash”, a massive corruption investigation in Brazil, which was brought to light with the help of whistleblowers.
  • Telia Company AB (2017): The Swedish telecommunications company agreed to pay nearly $965 million in a global settlement with U.S., Dutch, and Swedish authorities for bribing government officials in Uzbekistan.
  • Odebrecht S.A. and Braskem S.A. (2016): These Brazilian companies agreed to pay at least $3.5 billion to resolve alleged charges of bribing government officials worldwide. This settlement is one of the largest in FCPA enforcement history.
  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) (2016): GSK, a British pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, settled with the SEC for $20 million for alleged violations in China.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Whistleblower Awards

Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, whistleblowers who provide valuable information leading to successful enforcement actions can receive significant financial rewards as part of the whistleblower provisions under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act for the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the FCA and/or the AML whistleblower program  Also, there is a new anti-corruption program from the DOJ that is supposed to cover violations that weren’t previously addressed by the other statutes.

To be eligible for an award under the SEC program, whistleblowers must voluntarily provide the SEC with original, timely, and credible information that leads to a successful enforcement action. Notably, the sanctions imposed in the claim to qualify under the FCPA must exceed One Million Dollars ($1 million). The awards can range from Ten Percent (10%) to Thirty Percent (30%) of the monetary award collected in the action depending on the contribution the whistleblower brought to the claim.

How Do I Report a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violation?

To report a FCPA violation, the first step is to speak with an FCPA attorney who can inform you of your rights and go over how to legally and ethically gather relevant information and documentation that will support your claim that you’re entitled to access. Strong evidence may include emails, financial records, contracts, audio recordings, or any other evidence that shows improper payments or offers made to foreign officials.

The SEC provides a confidential and secure means for individuals to report violations of the FCPA using the SEC’s Tips, Complaints, and Referrals (TCR) system. SEC Legal representation is highly recommended to increase your odds that your submission is reviewed in the most succinct digestible format and also to assist with you staying anonymous. In addition to the FCA route, if government funds are implicated there may be a False Claims Act component, and if money laundering an AML whistleblower part.

Contact a Foreign Bribery and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Whistleblower Lawyer

Legal counsel from a lawyer or law firm that handles whistleblower claims–particularly Foreign Corrupt Practices Act claims–will help you navigate the nuances of these claims. Firms with attorneys who have experience working in the Security Exchange Commissions and/or Department of Justice will bring their knowledge of how these agencies work.  The Whistleblower law firm of Brown, LLC has DOJ alumni that can provide you with free, confidential consultations by calling (877) 561-0000 or by emailing and can go over with you your options to hold entities accountable for bribery.