September 9, 2011
Joe Yockey on Solicitation, Extortion, and the FCPA
I just finished reading Joe Yockey's paper on Solicitation, Extortion, and the FCPA. Joe points out the problems and uncertainties companies face under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and suggests ways to correct some of the problems with the Act. But the paper's main point is that regulators should shift more of their focus to the demand side of bribery--the officials who seek bribes.
The article is very well written and Joe's argument is interesting and worth reading. I'm not sure his proposed solution will work. One of the reasons the FCPA focuses on the supply side in the first place is the difficulty pursuing foreign officials who demand bribes. As Joe points out, many of the countries where bribery and corruption are prevalent do little to prosecute those accepting bribes. And the U.S. and other jurisdictions that do care face jurisdictional, not to mention political, issues when they try to pursue corrupt foreign officials. Imagine what would happen if U.S. prosecutors tried to pursue a corrupt Chinese official for demanding a bribe from a U.S. company.
That's a very quick response to a very detailed, sophisticated argument. I strongly suggest you check out the article if you have an interest in the FCPA.