November 11, 2014, Annapolis, M.D. – TRACE International today announced the launch of the TRACE Matrix, the first business bribery risk index specifically tailored to the needs of the compliance community. Developed in collaboration with RAND Corporation, the TRACE Matrix provides the business community with a powerful new tool for anti-bribery risk assessment.
The lack of reliable information on the risk of business bribery in foreign countries exposes a company to the possibility of violating anti-corruption laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other international anti-bribery regulations which prohibit bribery of foreign government officials.
The TRACE Matrix was designed to help companies assess the propensity for public-sector bribery and its associated business risk while providing actionable intelligence to inform a company’s compliance processes.
“We have heard from the business community for years that a tailored tool to gauge levels of commercial bribery was needed. There are some excellent indices currently available, but these are either very broad, measuring perceived corruption across all spheres of society, or very narrow, measuring just one factor,” said Alexandra Wrage, President of TRACE. “The TRACE Matrix provides the compliance community with a clear guide to business bribery, focusing specifically on the data that is relevant to business activity.”
View the complete press release announcement here.
SEC defendant challenges agency’s powers to bring charges before administrative law judges – The head of a Delaware investment fund is challenging the SEC’s powers under Section 929P of the Dodd-Frank Act to impose civil penalties in an administrative proceeding. The case, which is before the federal district court for the southern district of New York, comes amidst criticism that the SEC is improperly bypassing federal courts by trying complex cases before its administrative law judges.
UK takes major step to require large companies to disclose efforts taken to avoid supply chain slavery – A proposed new measure going through parliament in the UK would require disclosure of the steps companies have taken to ensure their supply chains are “slavery free.” If passed, the law would be notably broader than President Obama’s 2012 executive order, which imposes transparency measures for trafficking and forced labor on federal U.S. contractors.
Second Circuit Court further narrows jurisdictional requirements under Alien Tort Statute – This month, the Second Circuit ruled in Mastafa v. Chevron Corpthat the same set of allegations used to satisfy the Supreme Court’s Kiobel ruling (that the case touches and concerns the United States with sufficient force to displace the presumption against extraterritoriality), must also satisfy the jurisdictional test for whether the alleged conduct violated the law of nations where that conduct occurred. As Sarah Altschuller of Foley Hoag LLP comments on the firm’s blog, the recent Mastafa decision shows just how limiting the Kiobel decision has been for plaintiffs in ATS cases for claims based on conduct occurring abroad.
Layne Christensen pays $5.1 million to resolve FCPA charges with the SEC – Layne Christensen, the U.S.-based global water management, construction and drilling company, agreed to pay a $5.1 million fine this month to the SEC to resolve allegations that the company’s subsidiaries in Africa and Australia violated the anti-bribery and books and records provisions of the FCPA. The complete Compendium summary for this case may be accessed here.
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SEC announces record-breaking $30 million whistleblower award. The award, which is the largest in the Commission’s history, was for key information related to an ongoing fraud investigation. It also marks the fourth time that a whistleblowing award has been made to someone living in a foreign country.
GSK agrees to pay $491 million penalty to Chinese authorities because of briberycharges. The announcement of the largest corporate fine ever imposed in China came in the wake of a one-day trial in Changsha, Hunan, finding the company’s subsidiary guilty of bribing Chinese doctors and hospitals. Investigations in the United States and the United Kingdom appear to be ongoing.
California court dismisses human rights abuse case against Cisco Systems. The California court ruled that the plaintiffs, who had brought their case partially under the Alien Tort Statute, did not sufficiently show facts that human rights abuses touched and concerned the United States with sufficient force to overcome the presumption against extraterritorial application of the statute. The decision closely followed the Supreme Court’s 2012 ruling in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum.
U.S. Commerce Department publishes list of all known conflict mineral processing facilities. The list, which was made public pursuant to section 1502(d)(3)(C) of the Dodd-Frank Act, tells companies all known facilities that process the minerals tin, tantalum, tungsten, or gold, but does not indicate whether a specific facility processes minerals that are used to finance conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or an adjoining country.
Brazilian authorities charge Embraer SA employees of bribing officials of the Dominican Republic. Brazilian authorities are reportedly working alongside their U.S. counterparts to collect evidence of a $3.5 million bribe to a retired Dominican Air Force colonel. The case marks one of the first major actions by Brazilian authorities to curb instances of bribery abroad.
Raising awareness about bribery doesn’t always have to be serious business. In fact, sometimes it can even be fun. That’s why here at TRACE, we are interested in learning about unique campaigns designed to raise anti-bribery awareness in engaging, new ways. From the forward-thinking, to the humorous and irreverent, these are the projects that have recently caught our eye:
A Walking Tour of Corruption in Prague – Ah, Prague, the golden city of a thousand spires. Some people go to stroll across the Charles bridge or visit Prague’s famed castle; others go to learn about corruption. Yes, that’s right, you can spend your vacation in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities with The Corrupt Tour Travel Agency, which offers walking tours of Prague that explore the city’s unique corruption history. Pick from three different tours: the “Prague Crony Safari,” which explores the “ostentatious dens” of some of the capital’s wealthiest residents, next, the “Hospital on the Edge of the Law” which explores graft at three Prague hospitals, and finally, “Prague’s Best of the Worst” a tour which daftly celebrates Prague’s “Monuments of Corruption.”
The 185-Mile March to End Corruption – Last year, in the dead of winter, Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law School Professor, Constitutional scholar and political activist, led a 185-mile march across the state of New Hampshire to promote the idea of tackling campaign finance reform in Washington. The “New Hampshire Rebellion” is a nonpartisan movement that seeks to turn back the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. And yes, they’ll be back in New Hampshire this upcoming January, once more trudging through the sleet and snow.
Corruption Summer Camp – Since 2009, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, along with the NGO The Future Is Yours, has organized a summer camp in Armenia to educate children in Armenia’s southern Syunik province about the dangers of corruption. The young campers conduct trainings, discussions and various games and activities aimed at promoting civil activity and participation and skills that kids can use to resist bribery demands later on in life. And, as with all summer camp experiences, lasting friendships are always made.