Deep Background

Anti-Bribery Due Diligence: Tougher anti-bribery due-diligence coming

International companies are gearing up for the publication in coming days of the final version of a new set of anti-corruption best practices recently agreed to by a global panel.  Officials of the U.S., the U.K., and dozens of other nations approved the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 37001 draft anti-bribery standards.  The new rules require tough due-diligence reviews into foreign partners and executives not only when a cross-border deal is set up, but periodically and “in the event of a significant change to the structure or activities of the organization.”  The law firm Sidley Austin says ISO 37001 “is even broader than the FCPA” since it covers bribes received by a firm’s foreign venture or by its executives, and so it “applies to commercial bribery, not just bribery of foreign government officials.”  Sidley Austin also says the standards are “a potentially significant development for companies” because they could provide a form of independent validation of their anti-corruption processes.  “During settlement negotiations or other interactions with DOJ or SEC, companies may be able to point to ISO 37001 as an externally validated framework for explaining the strengths of their own compliance programs.” recently ran an essay by compliance consultant Kristy Grant-Hart that called ISO 37001 “a truly international standard that matches the expectations of U.S., UK, German, Canadian and other prosecutorial authorities throughout the world.”  Grant-Hart’s advice to companies considering ISO 37001 as a form of validation for anti-corruption efforts:  “Why wouldn’t you certify your program?”

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