Current trends show that with the continued expansion of truly global businesses with multinational centers of control and operations, more and more US lawyers and compliance personnel will find that their work increasingly concentrates on cross-border or foreign conduct. Already we see that efforts to investigate and prosecute corruption have expanded greatly around the world. The cost of global criminal risk is high: a recent report concluded corruption had cost the European Union's member nations $162.16 billion a year; the World Bank estimates the annual worldwide bribery figure at $1 trillion.
In their recent article in Ethisphere magazine, White Collar Defense and Government Investigations partners Stephen Hill and Max Carr-Howard discuss the trend of increased attention by anti-corruption enforcement around the world and note that this increased scrutiny within many countries and across the globe will require recalibration of organizations' internal investigations and risk analyses.
In particular, Stephen and Max examine what lessons can be taken by legal counsel and compliance personnel from these extraordinary global developments:
- How the aggressive and extraordinary reach of the US and the UK, along with their cross-border enforcement partners, make them the "primary actors" for this global approach
- The red flags raised by the surprising 180 degree attitude shift in China on combatting corruption and in Switzerland's decision to cooperate in tax evasion investigations led by the US and the European Union
- The recent trend toward more cross-border enforcement by many other nations, including Brazil, Germany, India, and Russia
- How the gap between varying investigative approaches could threaten disclosure benefits and privilege protections
- The internal investigation considerations generated by primary enforcement actors
- The need to recruit and use local lawyers when performing a risk analysis for the various countries where the conduct may have taken place
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