What if I pay a bribe out of my pockets?

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The increasing awareness towards the anti-corruption field made particularly difficult for companies paying bribes and getting away with that. Since 1977, when the FCPA as promulged, the number of organizations investigated constantly increased and the very same trans occurs in the UK in furtherance of the Anti-Bribery Act as well as elsewhere.

The primary target of such investigations have been legal persons which paid foreign officials in order to secure business, benefits or other kind of undue advantages. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, it cannot be denied that, behind any enterprise or any company there are physical persons who can actually benefit if the organizations they represent are actually better off.

While deciding whether to pay a bribe, an executive (but, the same principle applies to everyone in this condition) may realize that it is now quite difficult mischaracterizing a payment within the company financial statements and may be tempted to pay it out of his pockets.

using private wealth to pay bribes is equally illegal

Although physical persons are not subject to specific accounting controls, anti-corruption laws apply to them. Consequently, they should resist to this false sense of security and rely to the compliance program – hopefully – in place within their company.

Likewise for external contractors as they may feel the sense of urgency of impressing their clients, and be tempted in paying bribes themselves.

In the latter case, besides paying attention to any unusually high invoice coming from third parties, they should also make a serious and impartial critics on their business development model; an unexpected high number of deals, in fact, should be carefully monitored, in order to proactively spot and detect possible corruption issues.

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Michele La Neve

White Collar Crime Attorney at Whitecotton Law Dedicated to Helping Clients Overcome Unforeseen Business Risks.

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