Measuring the Impact of Non-Prosecution and Deferred Prosecution Agreements on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Enforcement
49 U.C. Davis Law Review 497 (2015)
69 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2015
Date Written: December 10, 2015
Historically, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) had two choices when a business organization was the subject of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) scrutiny: either charge the entity with an FCPA violation or not charge. However, in 2004 the DOJ brought to FCPA enforcement a third option: alternative resolution vehicles called non-prosecution agreements (“NPAs”) and deferred prosecution agreements (“DPAs”).
The use of alternative resolution vehicles to resolve FCPA scrutiny is not authorized by the FCPA nor any other specific Congressional legislation. Moreover, DOJ policy states that alternative resolution vehicles are to be used only “under appropriate circumstances.”
However, this article demonstrates that alternative resolution vehicles have become the dominant way the DOJ resolves corporate FCPA scrutiny and serve as an obvious reason for the general increase in FCPA enforcement over the past decade. To the many cheerleaders of increased FCPA enforcement, NPAs and DPAs are thus worthy of applause.
Yet in a legal system based on the rule of law, quality of enforcement is more important than quantity of enforcement. Through empirical data and various case studies, this article measures the impact NPAs and DPAs have on the quality of FCPA enforcement and concludes that NPAs and DPAs — while resulting in higher quantity of FCPA enforcement — result in lower quality of FCPA enforcement. This disturbing finding matters not only in the specific context of the FCPA but more broadly as other nations with “FCPA-like” laws adopt U.S.-style alternative resolution vehicles.
Keywords: FCPA, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Non-Prosecution Agreements, Deferred Prosecution Agreements
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