As I am of the view that one cannot get enough on China and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the FCPA), I wanted to alert everyone to an upcoming seminar on exactly that.  But first I want to digress a bit.

I am being serious when I say that one cannot get enough on China and the FCPA and, really, on dealing with corruption in general there.  All one has to do is read the newspapers to know this to be true.  Both China and the US (and England too for that matter) are cracking down on corruption.  If you do not have a corruption plan AND a corruption policy in place, you just increased your chances of being in a world of pain at some point.  To put it bluntly, which of the following do you want to be able to say to the Chinese authorities/US federal prosecutors if your company is ever accused of having engaged in corruption?

  • Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize that corruption might be a problem.
  • We did everything we could to try to prevent this.  Here is our policy manual which we require our employees to sign when they join our company and re-sign to acknowledge every year thereafter.  And here is a record of the full day mandatory anti-corruption training we give to our employees every six months and the written materials we provide to them each time.  As you can see, the employees implicated in this case each attended x number of these sessions.  I really do think we did everything we could do as a company to try to stop this sort of thing and I think you will find that we do take stopping corruption very seriously.

Pretty obvious, right?  The FCPA and China is a hot topic these days not only because of the traditional Chinese culture of gift-giving and the sensitivity of allegations of government-related bribery and corruption, but also because of the complicated question of whether or not executives at state-owned enterprises (which are common in China) can be considered “government officials” for purposes of FCPA enforcement.  Based on our own quasi-empirical evidence — based strictly on companies contacting our China lawyers — the FCPA worry level for companies doing business in China went way up right about when GSK started having its problems.

Anyway, the seminar/conference is China and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: Challenges for the 21st Centuryand it is taking place in New York City on January 29, 2014, starting at 6 PM. After the conference, there will be a reception starting from 7:30 PM at Edith Guldi Platt Atrium.It is being put on at the McNally Amphitheater of Fordham Law School by the Chinese Business Lawyers Association and Fordham University School of Law.

I am confident this will be an excellent program.

Professor Sean Griffith will start the day by giving the opening remarks.

The trio of panelists are three big names in the FCPA and China:

  • Professor Daniel Chow, the Associate Dean of Ohio State University, and is also the author of China Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Here’s the guy who wrote the book (OK, law review article) on China and the FCPA.  We had Professor Chow do an FCPA guest post for us last year.
  • Nathaniel Edmonds, from Paul Hastings’ DC office, and former head of the FCPA Unit at the Department of Justice.
  • Thomas O. Gorman from Dorsey & Whitney’s DC office, and former Senior Counsel at the Division of Enforcement of the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he helped lead FCPA enforcement.

Professor Carl Minznera leading professor on China issues, will moderate and lead the question and answer session and The Honorable Denny Chin of the Second Circuit will give closing remarks. Judge Chin is the highest-ranking Chinese-American judge in the United States.

Perhaps best of all, the program is entirely free!

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