Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Since enactment, the FCPA has been criticized for its ambiguity, pitfalls, and underlying policy weakness. For instance, a payment of $10,000 to a customs official by X Corporation in order to speed a shipment of perishables through customs would be a legal facilitating payment under the FCPA. Under the same circumstances, however, a $100 payment to a Cabinet minister who has the discretionary power to clear the shipment will subject the X Corporation to a million dollar fine and expose the guilty company officer, director or employee to a jail term of up to five years for violating the FCPA. This Note will explore the background of the FCPA, the policy behind its enactment, and will provide a detailed discussion of problem areas within the law. Furthermore, a general discussion of how corporate counsel may provide adequate safeguards so as to reasonably comply with the FCPA will be included. Finally, the international efforts to eradicate bribery of government officials of all countries will be detailed.