Extraterritorial Application of the FCPA under International Law
43 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2014 Last revised: 12 Nov 2015
Date Written: August 31, 2014
This article examines several recent case examples to show that the broad application of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) jurisdiction is, in practice, in conflict with certain customary principles of international law. Generating new statistics on the enforcement of the FCPA against foreign corporations, I explore the proposition that the U.S. government's targeting of foreign businesses, and the lack of prosecution of their U.S. counterparts, has the effect of giving U.S. companies an unfair competitive edge in the global marketplace. Finally, given the ease at which the U.S. government can bring charges against a foreign company coupled with the fact that most charges are settled as opposed to litigated, the FCPA looks more like an international anti-corruption business tax, rather than a domestic criminal law with limited extraterritorial applications. The consequences of this new "international business tax," namely the power of the U.S. federal government to determine who pays the tax, how much they pay, and when they pay are further explored.
Keywords: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, extraterritorial jurisdiction
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation