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SEC’s Khuzami: We’re not interested in small potatoes

Robert Khuzami of the United States Securities and Exchange CommissionHere’s what Robert Khuzami said Wednesday at a news briefing about the FCPA guidance released by the DOJ and SEC. Khuzami is head of the SEC’s enforcement division.

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The most effective law enforcement programs are those that combine vigorous prosecution of those who break the law with an equally vigorous effort to enable those who seek to abide by the law.

The prosecution part of this two-prong model is well ingrained at both the SEC and DOJ.

Anti-corruption prosecutions have been a critical component of the mission of both the SEC and DOJ for decades.

It is no bluster to say that together, our prosecution teams make up the most formidable anti-corruption partnership in law enforcement in the world.

But today we are here mostly to focus on the second prong: prevention.

We would rather stop bribery of foreign officials before it happens, rather than pick up the pieces afterwards.

That is where the guide comes in.

It’s an ambitious effort to lay out how the government interprets and applies the FCPA, in order to educate companies about how to prevent their employees from violating the law, and educate employees about the limits of permissible conduct.

We want to make it clear how we reward companies to adopt compliance programs that are effective in preventing violations in the first place.

We also hope that it will clear up some myths about the type of conduct that gets prosecuted under the FCPA — that it is not the $5 cup of coffee, or the one off $50 gift to a public official, that companies need to be concerned about, but payments of real and substantial value that clearly represent an unambiguous intent to bribe a foreign official to obtain or retain business.

If the guide proves effective and increases prevention, then shareholders will get what they are entitled to — faith that the economic performance of a company reflects lawful considerations of markets, price, and product, rather than a mirage of performance built on bribery and corruption.

And we at the SEC couldn’t ask for better partners than Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer and his team of prosecutors at DOJ, who work tirelessly with us in this fight.


The SEC’s release is here.

‘A Resouce Guide on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’ from the DOJ and SEC is available here.

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