Skip to content

Anti-Bribery and Corruption Year in Review: 2018

01 February 2019

Global developments in anti-bribery and corruption regulation, compliance and enforcement

Welcome to the 2018 edition of Allen & Overy’s annual publication covering global developments in anti-bribery and corruption regulation, compliance and enforcement.  

The publication is split into two parts. Part I takes a look at developments and changes in the FCPA enforcement landscape in the United States. Despite President Trump’s negative rhetoric around the FCPA, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) secured sixteen resolutions from corporates for FCPA-related misconduct in 2018, amounting to USD 2.89bn in fines and disgorgement paid – a bumper year for U.S. enforcement authorities.  The DOJ has also announced several new enforcement policies, all of which will have the effect of directly or indirectly impacting FCPA enforcement. In addition, the DOJ announced in November that it will devote resources to targeting investigations and prosecutions of Chinese companies pursuant to its “China Initiative”. These developments, all of which are covered in this update, make for a more complex and challenging environment for multinational companies to operate in.

Part II of the publication takes a closer look at developments in a number of jurisdictions outside the United States, including in Europe, in the Asia-Pacific region and in South America. The trend of regulators in other countries cracking down more heavily on bribery continues. Several jurisdictions around the world, for example, China, India, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand, enhanced their anti-bribery and corruption laws, created new institutions designed to pursue wrongful conduct, or increased the tools available to local prosecutors to pursue bribery and corruption cases.  Elsewhere, significant bribery and corruption-related investigations and inquiries are ongoing. In the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa and Malaysia (among others), regulators are pursuing companies in relation to possible money laundering, securities fraud, bribery, kickbacks and other offenses. Brazil’s largest bribery investigation “Operação Lava Jato” has been particularly active in 2018 with several prosecutions brought and resolved against corporations and individuals alike, including against the former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. 

These developments, coupled with a trend of increased cooperation among regulators worldwide, are leading to a more aggressive enforcement landscape in the United States and abroad. They raise the stakes for companies operating across borders and wanting to ensure that their operations are compliant.

We hope you find this publication informative and helpful.  Should you have any enquiries, please feel free to email the authors or your usual Allen & Overy contact.

To read more, please click here​.