Am I being Extorted?

This post is also available in: it fr es

This post is related to my previous one ‘You Refused to Pay a Bribe. Now What?’ which I suggest reading.

If you read this blog in the past you know I work on behalf of corporate clients around the world facing challenges and situations normally I would not elsewhere.

Extortion is one of these challenges.

There might be situations in which you cannot jeopardize your employees’ personal security (and yours, of course).

For instance, very recently, an Italian journalist was allegedly extorted in Africa only because he refused to pay bribes at the airport. (source)

Moreover, in the Philippines, the local political leadership thinks to fix corruption by means of death squads; for further readings here the relevant article.

What Should You do Then?

It’s pretty much difficult giving up business in such countries but there are strategies you should use to minimize risks. Alongside with my colleague, Mike Kenealy, we drafted them on the article ‘Sugarcoating Extortion‘ .

strategies to avoid extortion while doing business abroad

If an extortion takes place, you should inform your legal/compliance department as soon as possible  and the transaction must be reported faithfully  in your financial statements.

In many jurisdictions, financial statements’ misrepresentation is a criminal offense, therefore misrepresentation is not an option. 

Even if the extortion took place abroad, you should always report it to your home authorities.

Probably perpetrators will not be prosecuted but it is likely that your position will be favorably evaluated by the prosecutor in your home country since several Criminal Codes exclude liability for actions committed under threat.

Repetita iuvant, these are general suggestions that cannot replace your lawyer’s assessment.


Photos courtesy of and copyright Free Range Stock, Photographer: Jack Moreh

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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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