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Preventing Bribery and Extortion in International Business Transactions

This article argues for a modification in the U.S strategy in the battle against corruption in international business transactions. The author points out several drawbacks on imposing criminal penalties on only those who give bribes to foreign officials.

According to the author, the U.S regulatory framework establishes a perverse incentive structure that ensures that bribery will remain secret in most cases. Companies will not disclose their payments because they know they will be persecuted. Additionally, the present system “punishes many exported persons who do not deserve it and fails to punish the corrupt foreign officials that do”.

The article argues that the focus of the current anti-bribery regime should be shifted to prevention. Specifically, that the U.S Congress should decriminalize the giving of bribes but, in exchange, impose a robust mandatory disclosure regime. That, in turns, will give the U.S authorities the information needed to start investigations against corrupt foreign officials.

Author : Bruce W. Klaw

25 Mar 2013

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