Main Elements of the FCPA

Violations of the FCPA contain three elements:  (1) a payment or something of value is offered, promised, or given (2) to a foreign official, political party, party official, or candidate (3) for a corrupt purpose.

The FCPA defines “foreign official” broadly.  Agents, and employees of a foreign government may include professors and employees of state universities, advisors to ministries, members of government committees, healthcare professionals at state-owned or controlled hospitals, employees of public international organizations (such as the World Bank), and members of a royal family.  The official need not be high-ranking and the designation applies also to the relatives and friends of the official. 

You cannot make a payment to a third party if you know (or should know) that some or all of that payment will be used in a way that violates the FCPA.  In other words, you cannot legally ask or hire someone else to do something you are not legally allowed to do yourself.

A violation of the FCPA is considered to have occurred even if the effort does not work out.

Last updated: 
12/13/2021