The U.S. Foreign Corruption Practice Act ("FCPA")
makes it unlawful and penalizes U.S. companies, their directors and
executives if they pay directly or through third parties anything
of value to foreign public officials for purposes of obtaining
unethical economic benefits.
Many cases exist where multinational companies that have
perpetrated actions prohibited by the FCPA were investigated and
penalized by U.S. authorities. Those companies have had to pay
millionaire fines. In certain cases, the executives of the
companies involved in corrupt practices have also been
The scope of U.S. and several other countries'
anti-corruption laws goes beyond their national borders. As an
example of such international scope, below is examined a case where
a multinational company was investigated and penalized in the U.S.
due to corrupt practices committed in, among other countries,
Bridgestone Corporation ("Bridgestone") is a Japanese
company that manufactures and sells industrial products. The
company sought to sell its marine hoses (hoses that are used to
transport oil from tanker-vessels to shore) in Latin America.
Between years 1999 and 2007, a Bridgestone subsidiary made US$ 2
million payments to public officials of State entities in
Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela and Ecuador for purposes of
achieving sales of its products.
The U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") filed a
criminal accusation against Bridgestone on grounds of conspiracy to
violate the FCPA. The company pleaded guilty in 2011 and agreed to
pay a US$ 28 million fine1.
Furthermore, Misao Hioki, International Sales Manager for
industrial products and responsible for authorizing those illegal
payments during 2004-2007, was also indicted. He pleaded guilty in
2008 and was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment and ordered to pay
a US$ 80,000 fine.
The above case demonstrates the reach of the FCPA on business
activities in Latin America, including activities carried out in
Ecuador. The companies, their subsidiaries, agents and franchisees
– when subject to the FCPA – must maintain robust
compliance programs to prevent and detect corruption practices that
might result in substantial sanctions against the company and its
 The DOJ accusation also included charges for
participating in a collusive agreement with other manufacturers of
marine hoses in violation of the Sherman Act (competition law).
Both Bridgestone and its International Sales Manager admitted being
guilty of that violation.
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In order to remunerate the invested capital, Brazilian companies are allowed to distribute earnings to their shareholders in the form of dividends or under the concept of interest on net equity (juros sobre o capital próprio – JCP).
Under the compliance umbrella, anticorruption, trade, antitrust, anti-bribery, data privacy, and antimoney laundering are only a few examples of the areas being covered.
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