FCPAméricas Blog

Going Beyond the TI Index: New tools for assessing integrity risks

Author: Matteson Ellis

Enforcement officials and “best practice” descriptions stress that adequate anti-corruption compliance programs are based in sound corruption risk assessments. Howard Sklar recently provided an in-depth look at how risk assessments can be used for maximum effect. The question remains, however: how should compliance officers assess the integrity risks presented by particular countries or industries?

Historically, companies have looked to their own experience and, frequently, to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (the TI Index) to help identify country risk. The 2011 version of the TI Index was just launched today.

These are good first steps, but leave much to be desired. Fortunately, compliance officers have a growing number of metrics to consider when conducting such risk assessments.

The Mintz Group’s “Where the Bribes Are” Map

The James Mintz Group recently launched an online tool, the “Where the Bribes Are” Map, that measures the amount of FCPA enforcement ... Read more

Brazil: Waking Up to Anti-Corruption Compliance

Author: Matteson Ellis

I have been traveling to Brazil for more than a decade now, most often for anti-corruption work, at times for fun.

On my latest trip, I saw something new. Brazilian companies and businesspeople might be beginning to wake up to the notion of anti-corruption compliance.

This observation is not based on any empirical data. It is purely anecdotal. But sometimes there is value in what one sees and hears on the ground. Consider the following:

The Embraer Subpoena. Brazilian professionals are asking questions about the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s investigation of Embraer for potential U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations. They wonder the implications of Embraer’s retention of U.S. counsel and cooperation with the SEC and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). They question how it can be that their own companies and business people are subject to the jurisdiction of a country located in an entirely different hemisphere. They are learning about the multi-million dollar fines and jail time commonly associated with FCPA enforcement actions. And they are learning about the compliance procedures that might have helped Embraer avoid the investigation.

In particular, Brazilians are ... Read more

No “Tone From the Top”? What’s Compliance to Do?

Author: Matteson Ellis

The job of a general counsel or anti-corruption compliance officer in managing a company’s compliance efforts is hard enough. It gets even harder when he or she lacks the “tone from the top” support from senior management. In these situations, what is an officer to do? What lessons on ethical leadership can he or she bring to bear?

This question is not just academic. Recent news reports reveal how Koch Industries Inc. hired a compliance officer and ethics manager in 2008 and soon thereafter sent her to investigate the management of a subsidiary in southern France. After her investigation uncovered bribes, management then removed her from the inquiry. They fired her less than a year after that, claiming that she was incompetent, even though her findings were substantiated by a second round of investigations.

Though Koch Industries is an extreme example, lack of top-down commitment is more common than one might think. According to a recent survey by Corporate Board Member / FTI, only 36% of gen... Read more


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