The United States broke from a three-year downturn in bribery-related enforcement actions, while Brazil continued its emergence in the space, according to the results of the latest annual Global Enforcement Report by nonprofit TRACE.
The 2022 report, released Thursday, provides a global glimpse into all known bribery enforcement activity—investigations, enforcement actions, and declinations—over the last 46 years, following enactment of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Data from the report is based primarily on cases and investigations tracked in the TRACE Compendium, a searchable database of international anti-bribery enforcement actions.
The report identified 11 enforcement actions concerning bribery of foreign officials brought by U.S. authorities in 2022, which snapped a run of annual decline dating back to 2018, when 20 actions were brought. Still, the total is the second lowest observed in the past eight years, behind only 2021 (eight).
Enforcement activity by non-U.S. enforcement agencies dropped from five in 2021 to four last year, according to the report. The 2022 total is the lowest since 2015 (three).
The results generally align with a 2022 report by Transparency International that identified global anti-bribery enforcement was at its lowest level since 2009.
Among other notable findings from the TRACE report, Brazil was once again the most active of non-U.S. jurisdictions in bringing enforcement actions for domestic bribery by foreign companies. The country surpassed China in the area last year. Brazilian enforcement agencies also led in the number of open investigations concerning domestic bribery from U.S.-based companies, according to the report.
Regarding industries, extractives remains the most heavily investigated (19 percent of all probes) when excluding the United States, followed by engineering/construction (18 percent) and aerospace/defense/security (14 percent). The report noted U.S. interest in bribery at financial services firms is higher than other countries globally.
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