The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have recently laid charges against the president of a Canadian commercial aircraft company under the federal Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA), for allegedly conspiring to bribe Thai public officials. It is alleged that this individual conspired to bribe Thai military officials in relation to a proposed deal involving a commercial aircraft from Thailand’s national airline.
The CFPOA is Canada’s primary anti-corruption statute and is focused on combating bribery and corruption of foreign public officials. The scope and reach of the CFPOA is wide-ranging. It applies to the worldwide conduct of Canadian citizens, permanent residents, corporations, and other business organizations.
Charges were laid as a result of a lengthy investigation by the RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit, initiated after a tip from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2013. This is the fourth investigation resulting in charges under the CFPOA in Alberta.
The RCMP have indicated their investigation did not reveal evidence that Thai officials were in fact bribed or were involved in the alleged conspiracy. Rather, it is alleged that the accused conspired to offer a bribe to foreign public officials. These charges are consistent with the decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in R. v. Karigar, where the court confirmed that in order to establish a violation of section 3 of the CFPOA, it was not necessary to establish that a bribe was actually paid to a foreign official; rather, a conspiracy or agreement to bribe is sufficient. For further information, please see our May 2014 Blakes Bulletin: Karigar Receives Three Years in Landmark Corruption Sentencing.
The accused is expected to next appear in court on December 12, 2016. If ultimately convicted, he could face up to 14 years in prison.
This case reflects the continuing trend of increased CFPOA enforcement by Canadian authorities, and underscores the need for Canadian companies and individuals conducting business internationally to ensure implementation of robust anti-corruption compliance programs to deter and detect improper conduct. It also highlights that Canadian and foreign authorities, including those across the border, work together to investigate corruption offences. For another example of this, see our May 2016 Blakes Bulletin: World Bank v. Wallace: SCC Endorses Importance of International Anti-Corruption Efforts.
For further information, please contact: Calgary Mark Morrison 403-260-9726 Michael Dixon 403-260-9786 John Paul Smith 403-260-9621 Toronto Paul Schabas 416-863-4274 Iris Fischer 416-863-2408 Max Shapiro 416-863-3305
or any other member of our Business Crimes, Investigations & Compliance group.
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