Elizabeth Spahn | Editor Emeritus
Elizabeth K. Spahn is is a contributing editor of the FCPA Blog.
Civil asset recovery actions against kleptocrats stashing their loot in luxury real estate abroad has become a hot new topic in the global anti-corruption movements with the publication of Public Wrongs, Private Actions. This handy guide empowers developing nations with realistic tools to hunt down the stolen assets secreted abroad. Civil lawsuits, unlike criminal cases, do not normally require dual criminality and are therefore often the best and only possible remedy.
Image courtesy of the Stolen Asset Recovery InitiativeCivil, as opposed to criminal, asset forfeiture cases are the subject of heated debates in domestic U.S. law. Many civil libertarians and thoughtful observers of the U.S. legal system raise serious due process concerns when assets are taken without a prior criminal conviction. Civil cases are governed by lower procedural protections than criminal convictions that require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
With most enforcement pressure bearing down on corporate supply side bribe payers, it is no surprise that the business community feels beleaguered. The fundamental unfairness is of course the impunity with which bribe takers operate, a frequent topic on the FCPA Blog.
Even the most ardent Francophile, as I most assuredly am, must be dismayed by France’s abysmal record of bribery prosecutions. Recent OECD Anti-Bribery Convention Working Group reports reveal France’s inexorable zero. While France has contributed significantly to the global anti-corruption regime through its part in seizing Obiang family assets as well as referring evidence in the KBR cases to the U.S., nevertheless when it comes to prosecuting its own French based multinationals, France is failing.
Examining compliance programs of 105 publicly listed multinational companies, TI’s Compliance Program Rankings rate the best and worst companies for transparency.