FCPAméricas Blog

FCPA Myths and Misconceptions, Debunked (Part 2: Enforcement)

Author: Matteson Ellis

FCPAMisconceptionAs noted in the previous post is this series, FCPA misconceptions are dangerous. For compliance programs to mitigate risks as intended, everyone in the organization needs to understand them consistently. Compliance officers need to be alert for common myths or misunderstandings related to what the FCPA requires. Part 1 of this series describes common misconceptions related to FCPA compliance – this post highlights enforcement-related misconceptions.

1. “This is just a facilitating payment.” One of the most frequent areas of FCPA misunderstanding relates to the facilitating payments exception. It is not uncommon to hear someone describe a $15,000 customs payment or a $9,000 immigration payment as a “facilitating payment,” when they clearly are not. The facilitating payments exception is quite limited. To qualify, a payment must be made to exp...Read more

FCPA Myths and Misconceptions, Debunked (Part 1: Compliance)

Author: Matteson Ellis

FCPAmythWhen it comes to FCPA compliance and enforcement, myths and misconceptions abound. I’m not surprised to hear them from foreign business people with limited exposure to the FCPA. I am more concerned when I hear them in boardrooms, from the very executives most often exposed to individual liability under the law. These myths sometimes reflect a mere lack of knowledge about the FCPA. Other times they flow from a more “active” misunderstanding of the law – when employees hear what they want to hear and misconstrue rules in the most convenient way possible.

FCPA misconceptions are dangerous and compliance officers should be alert to them. A compliance program’s value depends on everyone understanding the rules to mean the same thing. This post overviews several common FCPA myths related to compliance. A subsequent post will discuss myths related to FCPA enforcement.

1. “Our third party is big and reputable, so we don’t need to vet it.” Shady, unknown agents and consultants ...Read more

Local Perspectives: Anti-Corruption Efforts in Venezuela, Argentina and Chile

Author: Matthew Fowler

MaduroKirchnerPreviously I summarized comments from local counsel in five Latin American countries regarding the impact of the FCPA and the UK Bribery Act in their countries (here and here). Today’s post provides local takes on the impact of domestic anti-corruption efforts in three countries in the region: Venezuela, Argentina, and Chile.


According to Gerardo Briceño of Hoet Peláez Castillo & Duque, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro promised a “shattering offensive against corruption” when he was granted one year of extraordinary powers in 2013. Although some reforms are expected ...Read more