The Latest Move of the USA in Combating Foreign Bribery and Corruption: The Foreign Extortion Prevention Act



It will now be not only unethical but also a crime under U.S. laws for a foreign public official to receive or demand bribes from U.S. companies. How will this affect the Turkish business world and public officials?

The U.S. Congress enacted the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (FEPA) on December 14, 2023. Thus, the U.S. took another significant step in fighting corruption, 46 years after the enactment of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in 1977.

The FCPA, which focuses on the "supply side" of bribery and prohibits U.S. companies and citizens from bribing foreign public officials, does not allow U.S. prosecutors to file charges against foreign public officials who receive or demand bribes.

FEPA was designed to fill this gap in the FCPA. Targeting the "demand side" of foreign bribery, FEPA criminalizes foreign public officials who receive or demand bribes from U.S. companies or citizens. In short, the U.S. introduces criminal sanctions against foreign officials who receive or demand bribes from U.S. companies through FEPA.

With these two laws, the U.S. aims to protect the operations of U.S. companies abroad by reducing corruption and elevating standards of transparency and accountability in the business world. These laws will strengthen the U.S.'s leadership role in international cooperation and the fight against corruption.   The enactment of FEPA is particularly important for U.S. companies operating in countries where bribery and corruption risks are prevalent, and of course, for the public officials of those countries.

The Impact of FEPA in Turkey

The adoption of FEPA brings a new dimension to the legal responsibilities of Turkish public officials in cases where they are associated with bribery.

According to the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index results announced by Transparency International, Turkey scored 36 points, ranking 101st (the 2023 index will be announced very soon). This result shows that Turkey is a high-risk country in terms of corruption. The potential effects of FEPA on Turkish public officials should be evaluated considering this negative situation.

Let's look at FEPA from a different perspective for Turkey. FEPA could also contribute to efforts to combat corruption in high-risk countries like Turkey. The Turkish government and public institutions might have to act within this new international legal framework, necessitating a reassessment of anti-corruption policies and the introduction of new measures.

In conclusion, the U.S. Congress's adoption of FEPA marks a significant turning point in the international fight against corruption. This law could have significant consequences, especially for countries struggling with bribery and corruption issues. The adoption of FEPA will also bring new legal and ethical responsibilities and challenges for Turkish public officials.

Now there is another law that the ethics and compliance world will closely follow and evaluate its implementations and effects. Although FEPA is a law that will be applied for the economic and political purposes of the U.S., hopefully, it will benefit the global fight against bribery and corruption.

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