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FCPA protects the safety and health of Americans

Tom Fox | June 26, 2017

Some continue to believe that bribery and corruption that occurs outside the United States does not concern the United States, its laws, or is even worth the time of U.S. law enforcement agencies. This myopic view belies both the inter-connectedness of the world’s economy and the facts on the ground.

In the area of safety, the direct connection between corruption, crime, and terrorism has been well-documented. There have also been allegations of environmental pollution around a chemical plant outside Houston, TX based on corruption outside the United States.

Now there is yet an example in the area of health: Last week, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture banned imports of Brazilian beef from import into this country. This comes on the heels of the most recent corruption settlement in Brazil, where the meat packing company JBS agreeing to the largest fine ever for fine for bribery and corruption, $3.2 billion in Brazil.

JBS engaged in widespread bribery of meat and poultry inspectors as well as other forms of corruption. Yet, this U.S. ban was based on more than simply the JBS corruption resolution. Reports indicate that the U.S Department of Agriculture “said it has been inspecting all meet imports from Brazil since March, and had refused entry to 11% of fresh beef products. It said that figure is "substantially higher" than the rejection rate from the rest of the world, which is around 1%.” 

The JBS corruption settlement was in a vacuum as other Brazilian meat producers and their inspectors have been called into question. All of these examples point out why robust U.S. enforcement of U.S. anti-corruption laws, such as the FCPA, is so critical to America and Americans.

These Brazilian meat producers who are subject to U.S. jurisdiction and who have put the American public at risk through bribery and corruption should be punished for their illegal acts. Hopefully, this will work to deter such conduct aimed at the American public going forward.