On July 11, 2008, the DOJ announced that it does not plan to take enforcement action in response to TRACE International, Inc.’s (“TRACE”) plan to pay stipends and transportation and lodging costs to approximately 20 journalists employed by media outlets in the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) so that the journalists can attend a conference being held by TRACE in Shanghai. TRACE is a membership organization that focuses on training, compliance, and due diligence reviews in the area of international anti-bribery. TRACE’s eligibility to submit an opinion-procedure request results from its status as a “domestic concern” under the FCPA.
According to the Opinion Procedure Release, the DOJ believes that the stipend and expenses that TRACE intends to pay fall into the category of FCPA promotional expenses affirmative defense: the expenses are reasonable under the circumstances and are directly related to the promotion, demonstration, or explanation of TRACE’s services. Consequently, the DOJ does not intend to take any enforcement action against TRACE for the activities described in the request.