Today the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice jointly released a 120-page guidebook to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Titled simply “A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” the offering represents the most significant analysis to date by the agencies tasked with enforcing the 1977 anti-bribery law.

The guidebook comes in response to complaints and pressure for more detailed guidance, given that dozens of major corporations have paid billions of dollars in fines following the upswing in FCPA enforcement over the last decade. While it is not clear that the guidebook, which is not legally binding, has completely addressed those complaints, it does compile agency guidance that may help a company avoid or respond to a government investigation, including hypotheticals, discussion of affirmative defenses to liability, and examples of enforcement actions (as well as instances where the agencies have declined to pursue enforcement).

The guidebook also contains summaries of applicable case law and prior DOJ opinion releases. After fully reviewing this new guidance, Fish & Richardson intends to supplement this notice with additional commentary and updates, which you can expect to receive in the near future.

Here is a link to the guidebook: