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Specific offences and restrictions

Offences

What are the key corruption and bribery offences in your jurisdiction?

In addition to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, there are a wide variety of offences that can apply to corruption, including mail and wire fraud, money laundering, antitrust and competition and other offences.

Hospitality restrictions

Are specific restrictions in place regarding the provision of hospitality (eg, gifts, travel expenses, meals and entertainment)? If so, what are the details?

There are specific limitations on gifts and hospitality provided to government officials in the United States. For example, executive branch employees are limited to $20 per occasion and $50 per source annually. Many states and other jurisdictions have their own gift and hospitality limitations. The legislative branch, including members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, have their own gift and hospitality limitations.

Facilitation payments

What are the rules relating to facilitation payments?

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act contains an explicit exception to the bribery prohibition for any “facilitation or expediting payment to a foreign official, political party, or party official the purpose of which is to expedite or to secure the performance of a routine governmental action by a foreign official, political party, or party official” (15 USC § 78dd-1(b) and (f)(3)). ‘Routine government action’ does not include a decision by a public official to award new business or continue existing business with a particular party. The statute lists examples of what is considered a routine government action, including:

  • obtaining permits, licences or other official documents to qualify a person to do business in a country;
  • processing government papers, such as visas or work orders;
  • providing police protection, mail pick-up and delivery or scheduling inspections associated with contract performance or the transit of goods across the country;
  • providing phone coverage, power or water, loading and unloading cargo or protecting perishable products from deterioration; and
  • actions of a similar nature.

There is no monetary threshold for determining when a payment crosses the line between a facilitation payment and a bribe.

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