Wikipedia — “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” — has a page on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act here. It defines the FCPA this way:
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1, et seq.) is a United States federal law known primarily for two of its main provisions, one that addresses accounting transparency requirements under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and another concerning bribery of foreign officials.
The article sets out the elements of an antibribery offense like this:
The antibribery provisions of the FCPA, prohibit: 1. Issuers, domestic concerns, and any person 2. From making use of interstate commerce 3. Corruptly 4. In furtherance of an offer or payment of anything of value 5. To a foreign official, foreign political party, or candidate for political office 6. For the purpose of influencing any act of that foreign official in violation of the duty of that official or to secure any improper advantage in order to obtain or retain business.
So far so good.
But be very careful with this article. For example, a paragraph about the application of the FCPA, which strangely appears under the heading “History,” makes some good points. But an unqualified statement about “the brother of the minister of finance” misses the mark: The meaning of foreign official is broad. For example an owner of a bank who is also the brother of the minister of finance would count as a foreign official according to the U.S. government. Not really. Consanguinity might be important but it has never been a definitive test of foreign-officialdome under the FCPA.
Wikipedia’s article — one of 2,274,622 in English– is not among the site’s better entries. We’re confident, though, that it’ll improve with time.
On a higher note, in the article’s “External Links” section is one of our all-time favorite FCPA-related pages. Trace International’s BRIBEline here says everything you need to know about the universality of public bribery.