The Anti-Corruption Report

The definitive source of actionable intelligence covering anti-corruption laws around the globe

Articles By Topic

By Topic: Customs

  • From Vol. 6 No.18 (Sep. 20, 2017)

    Compliance Program Checkup: A Checklist for Evaluating Customs Policies and Procedures

    Clearing customs is, from a corruption perspective, one of the riskiest things a company can do. Particularly when a business relies on delivering its goods to a country in a timely manner, any delay can become costly. Knowledge of this cost and companies’ need for timely clearance gives corrupt customs officials a tremendous amount of power and can put pressure on company employees or third parties tasked with managing the process. Effective controls in this area are, therefore, a must. With this checklist, companies can assess and monitor the state of their compliance policies and procedures and begin to address any weaknesses. For a deeper dive on this topic, see our three-part series on customs corruption risks: “Identifying the Problem Areas” (Oct. 21, 2015); “Four Ways to Limit the Risks of Working With Customs Brokers, Freight Forwarders and Other Third Parties” (Nov. 4, 2015); and “Should a Company Ever Pay a Facilitation Payment to a Customs Official?” (Nov. 18, 2015).

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  • From Vol. 6 No.2 (Feb. 1, 2017)

    After Two Extensions of Its DPA, Zimmer Biomet Settles Further FCPA Charges for $30M

    Biomet’s continued misconduct during the term of its 2012 deferred prosecution agreement, including its bribery of Mexican customs agents and persistent use of a third-party distributor known to have paid bribes in Brazil has led to a new resolution with the DOJ and SEC. The DOJ extended Biomet’s 2012 deferred prosecution agreement twice while the investigation was pending, and now the company (purchased in 2015 by Zimmer, which also bought the DPA obligations) will pay $30 million dollars to resolve the claim in a new settlement, and will take on another monitor for three years. See also “Dan Newcomb Discusses the Unusual Second Extension of Biomet’s DPA” (Apr. 20, 2016).

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  • From Vol. 4 No.24 (Nov. 18, 2015)

    Customs Corruption Risks:  Should a Company Ever Pay a Facilitation Payment to a Customs Official? (Part Three of Three)

    Moving goods from one country to another – a staple of many businesses – exposes companies to various points of bribery risk as employees try to navigate different customs regimes and expedite shipments.  One particular area of risk is the temptation to give a customs official a small “grease payment” to quickly clear goods through customs.  Under certain circumstances such payments may be permissible – but not always.  This article, the final installment of The FCPA Report’s series on anti-corruption risks related to customs, takes an in-depth look at facilitation payments in the customs process, which have become “a trap for the unwary,” according to Boies, Schiller & Flexner partner Scott Wilson.  The article examines when, if ever, companies should allow facilitation payments and, if so, how companies should structure their facilitation payment policies.  The first article gave an overview of the types of corruption risks companies face when engaging in international trade, and suggested four ways to mitigate them.  The second looked at the role third parties, such as customs brokers and freight forwarders, play in customs corruption risk and discussed how companies can minimize those risks through due diligence, communicating expectations, contract language and monitoring.  See also “Designing a Facilitation Payments Policy to Minimize Liability and Retain Flexibility (Part One of Two),” The FCPA Report, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Jul. 25, 2012); Part Two, Vol. 1, No. 5 (Aug. 8, 2012).

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  • From Vol. 4 No.23 (Nov. 4, 2015)

    Customs Corruption Risks: Four Ways to Limit the Risks of Working with Customs Brokers, Freight Forwarders and Other Third Parties (Part Two of Three)

    Importing and exporting goods across borders exposes companies to corruption risks on a number of fronts.  Third-party risks are particularly prevalent because international trade often requires that a company work with agents such as customs brokers and freight forwarders.  This second article in The FCPA Report’s series on customs risks examines the risks posed by third parties in the customs process and identifies four key strategies for mitigating those risks.  The first article in the series examined how the customs system works and the risks associated with that system, including books and records violations for inaccurate customs forms and the temptation for employees to make illegal payments to customs officials to ensure that their paperwork is approved as quickly as possible.  The third article will discuss facilitation payments in the customs context, including whether companies should allow such payments and, if so, how they can structure their compliance policies to minimize risks.  See also “Anti-Corruption and Trade Regulations: Identifying Common Elements and Streamlining Compliance Programs (Part One of Two),” The FCPA Report, Vol. 3, No. 14 (Jul. 9, 2014); and Part Two, Vol. 3, No. 15 (Jul. 23, 2014).

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  • From Vol. 4 No.21 (Oct. 21, 2015)

    Customs Corruption Risks: Identifying the Problem Areas (Part One of Three)

    Moving goods from one country to another – a staple of many businesses – exposes companies to various points of bribery risk as employees try to navigate different customs regimes and expedite shipments.  In this three-article series, we explore customs-related hurdles and FCPA risks.  This, the first article in the series, examines how the customs system works and the risks associated with that system, including books and records violations for inaccurate customs forms and the temptation for employees to make illegal payments to customs officials to ensure that their paperwork is approved as quickly as possible.  The article also outlines four ways to mitigate customs risks.  The second article in the series will take a closer look at how to address the risks arising from working with customs brokers, freight forwarders and other third-party vendors.  The third article will discuss facilitation payments in the customs context, including whether companies should allow such payments and, if so, how they can structure their compliance policies to minimize risks.  See also “Training, Certification, Due Diligence, Customs Clearance and Facilitation Payments: An Interview with Leaders of Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services Practice,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Jun. 6, 2012).

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  • From Vol. 4 No.9 (Apr. 29, 2015)

    Brazil’s Evolving Anti-Corruption Environment

    It has been over a year since the landmark Brazilian Anti-Corruption Act (BAA) has taken effect, and as the widespread investigation into Petrobras reveals, there is both official and grassroots disgust with the corruption that has historically plagued Brazil.  How have these current developments (which also include investigations into bribery involving the recent World Cup, the upcoming Olympics, and the aerospace conglomerate Embraer) affected the Brazilian corruption landscape and the risks of doing business there?  During a recent program presented by The Network, Matteson Ellis, a member of Miller & Chevalier, discussed those risks in the current anti-corruption environment in Brazil, detailed the new BAA regulations and offered strategies for assuring compliance with the FCPA and the BAA when doing business in Brazil.  See also “Corruption Risk and the Changing Legal Climate in Latin America,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 3, No. 4 (Feb. 19, 2014).

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  • From Vol. 3 No.5 (Mar. 5, 2014)

    Six Common FCPA Risks in Southern Africa and Strategies for Managing Those Risks

    Conducting business in Southern Africa, as in other emerging markets, offers both risks and rewards.  At a recent webinar hosted by Momentum Events Group, Baker & McKenzie’s Reagan R. Demas detailed common corruption risks for businesses that operate in Southern Africa and strategies for managing those risks.  He provided practical examples from Angola, Congo, Mozambique, South Africa and Uganda.  The presentation focused on six common areas of risk: community finds, security and protection payments, cash economies, influential political parties, “local content” laws, and customs and immigration issues.  See “How Can Companies Capture the Telecom, Energy and Resources Opportunities in Africa While Mitigating Corruption Risks?,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 2, No. 20 (Oct. 9, 2013).

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  • From Vol. 2 No.20 (Oct. 9, 2013)

    How Can Companies Capture the Telecom, Energy and Resources Opportunities in Africa While Mitigating Corruption Risks?

    “Africa is bigger than we think.”  Thomas Laryea, a partner at Dentons US LLP, and his fellow panelists at a recent panel sponsored by Dentons and AlixPartners described just how big it is – in terms of size, opportunity and risk.  Panelists discussed Africa-specific issues that companies doing or contemplating doing business there should know, and also presented a summary of results of a survey done by Dentons and AlixPartners, the full results of which The FCPA Report has exclusively.  The survey measured companies’ perception of the strategic importance of doing business in Africa, their understanding of African business opportunities and the corruption risks and compliance issues executives face in the region.  The survey can be interpreted to reveal the gap between the stereotypical perceptions of a monolithic continent with endemic corruption and the more nuanced reality of a diverse Africa with tremendous opportunity, if risks are carefully managed.

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  • From Vol. 1 No.2 (Jun. 20, 2012)

    Anti-Corruption Audits, Risk Assessments, Transaction Testing and the Dangers of Petty Cash: An Interview with Leaders of Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services Practice

    This article includes the second part of The FCPA Report’s in-depth interview with Brian Loughman and Richard Sibery, leaders of the Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services Practice at Ernst and Young LLP (E&Y).  Our interview focused on the critical decision points for global companies confronting anti-bribery issues when operating abroad.  We covered a lot of ground and, in the process, conveyed much of the key substance of the recent book by Loughman and Sibery, Bribery and Corruption: Navigating the Global Risks (Wiley 2012).  In light of its length and depth, we have published our interview as a two-part series.  This second part covers topics including: the dangers of petty cash; the nuts and bolts of transaction testing; FCPA-specific due diligence considerations for mergers and acquisitions; whether a company should combine an anti-corruption audit with a general audit; and best interviewing and communication techniques.  The first part of the interview dealt with the challenges of designing an effective FCPA training program, techniques of effective third party due diligence and risk assessments and other actionable topics.  See “Training, Certification, Due Diligence, Customs Clearance and Facilitation Payments: An Interview with Leaders of Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services Practice,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Jun. 6, 2012).

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  • From Vol. 1 No.1 (Jun. 6, 2012)

    Training, Certification, Due Diligence, Customs Clearance and Facilitation Payments: An Interview with Leaders of Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services Practice

    Brian Loughman is the Americas Leader of the Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services Practice at Ernst & Young LLP (E&Y), and Richard Sibery leads E&Y’s Fraud & Investigations Group within the Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services Practice.  In those roles, Loughman and Sibery have amassed deep, detailed and current experience with global anti-bribery investigations and remediation – the sort of practical know-how that only comes with extensive, on-the-ground experience.  The FCPA Report recently had the privilege of conducting a wide-ranging interview with Loughman and Sibery.  The general intent of the interview was to identify the most pressing anti-bribery issues facing global companies and specific strategies for addressing those issues.  In this sense, our interview sought to paraphrase some of the more important points made in the book recently written by Loughman and Sibery, Bribery and Corruption: Navigating the Global Risks (Wiley, 2012).  In particular, our interview covered: the challenges of designing an effective FCPA training program; the utility of certification programs; techniques of effective third party due diligence and risk assessments; issues surrounding customs payments, including the difficult issue of facilitation payments; the dangers of petty cash; the nuts and bolts of transaction testing; why M&A transactions pose unique due diligence challenges; whether an anti-corruption audit and a general audit plausibly may be combined; and best practices for interviewing and communications.  We are publishing the full transcript of our interview with Loughman and Sibery in two parts: the first part is included in this issue of The FCPA Report and the second part will be included in the next issue.

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