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Facilitation payments under the FCPA

Tom Fox | February 19, 2018

One of the more confusing areas of the FCPA is that of facilitation payments. Facilitation payments are small bribes, but make no mistake about it, they are bribes. For that reason, many companies feel they are inconsistent with a company culture of doing business ethically and in compliance with laws prohibiting corruption and bribery. Further, the 2012 FCPA Guidance specifies, “while the payment may qualify as an exception to the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, it may violate other laws, both in Foreign Country and elsewhere. In addition, if the payment is not accurately recorded, it could violate the FCPA’s books and records provision.” Finally, the 2012 FCPA Guidance states, “Whether a payment falls within the exception is not dependent on the size of the payment, though size can be telling, as a large payment is more suggestive of corrupt intent to influence a non-routine governmental action. But, like the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions more generally, the facilitating...

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