With the US Department of Justice’s frequent press releases announcing large fines and wide-reaching investigations into allegations of foreign bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, it’s easy to see why it makes good legal sense to comply with US anti-corruption laws.  But compliance also makes good business sense.  Why?  Here are five common sense reasons.

Reputation:  When it becomes public knowledge that a company has violated FCPA, customers and potential business partners wonder what other shortcuts the company has taken.  Will the company still be around to do business if it is faced with large fines for non-compliance?  Will doing business with the company drag a potential partner into an investigation?

Employee Conduct:  By modeling good behavior and exhibiting an unwillingness to tolerate corruption, employers let their employees know they expect compliance with legal and ethical standards throughout the company.  

Simplicity:  A straight forward policy of compliance is much easier to administer and easier for employees to follow without subjecting the company to liability.

Deterrence:  When a company consistently refuses to pay bribes, corrupt foreign officials often realize the futility of asking and move on to weaker targets.  

Snowball Effect:  The more a company pays bribes, the more foreign officials will ask for them (and for higher amounts).

And if those reasons weren’t enough, bear in mind that the US isn’t the only country with a robust anti-corruption enforcement program.  Many countries now have anti-corruption laws with a wide variety of rules and punishments.  A strong compliance policy of refusal to pay bribes will keep the company out of hot water, regardless of the regulatory scheme or locale.