It is more common than you might think for corporations around the world to bribe government officials in other countries so they can do business there. In some cases, these bribes might include money, luxurious gifts, kickbacks, and other incentives that are disguised as being part of the business deal, when nothing could be further from the truth.
There are even some countries in which the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) frequently deals with these instances of bribery, including Mexico, China, and India, among others. India, in particular, has come under fire in recent years for continually being found to have accepted such bribes in multiple FCPA violations.
Below, we go into further detail about what the FCPA is, these instances of government bribery in India, and what the SEC has done to hold these corporations accountable for the FCPA violations in question.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) first came to be in 1977 as a way to prevent certain individuals and companies from bribing government officials in other countries in order to obtain or do business within that country.
Since then, the FCPA has expanded to include the requirement that corporations maintain transparent internal accounting controls, as these financial statements are able to show when such a bribe has been paid. The FCPA rules apply to any U.S.-based corporation and also applies to foreign companies who have registered securities.
There are several different companies that have been scrutinized by the SEC for making illicit payments and other bribes to government officials in India. Most recently, the popular rideshare service, Uber is being investigated by the Department of Justice for this reason.
Other corporations under scrutiny in recent years include the healthcare company, Alere, Inc.; the IT services company, Cognizant; and, medical technologies firm Stryker Corp, among others. Alere, Inc. and Cognizant were found to have bribed government officials in India in order to do business and were penalized by the SEC for these FCPA violations.
Cognizant paid $28 million in fines, and Alere, Inc. wound up paying a total of $13 million. Stryker did not have appropriate accounting controls in place and failed to track kickbacks to government officials, and paid a $7.8 million fine.
As can be seen, the SEC has made it a top priority to combat corruption globally when it comes to the securities industry, financial markets, and FCPA violations.
If you believe you have information regarding violations of the FCPA and are considering reporting your tip to the SEC, contact a qualified FCPA whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates. We offer confidential tip evaluations to would-be whistleblowers across the country.
You can take advantage of this opportunity by giving our office a call at 1-866-764-3100 or by filling out the secured contact form included at the bottom of this page.