Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

White Collar & Investigations
Regulatory & Compliance

Regulatory compliance for companies doing business internationally has never been more complicated. In 2016, the number of U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prosecutions and enforcement actions approached record highs and companies are paying higher fines than ever before. While FCPA enforcement has traditionally focused more on business entities than individuals, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced its intention to increase the number of individuals facing prosecution and to implement investigative techniques, like wiretaps, that have previously been rare in FCPA cases.

Companies and executives don’t have to look hard to see the potential perils of this international regulatory climate. Wal-Mart stands accused of bribing Mexican officials, and other major corporations are facing similar government and public scrutiny; the stake that the Chinese government holds in many Chinese companies blurs the line between private business and government control; more foreign countries continue the trend started by the United Kingdom in enacting of the UK Bribery Act by adopting and enforcing their own anti-corruption laws; and efforts by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business interests to amend U.S. statutes to protect American companies doing business overseas have been met with fierce opposition from the DOJ.

Whether conducting an internal investigation, crafting a compliance program, analyzing a potential acquisition, conducting a risk assessment or building a defense, the lawyers at Zuckerman Spaeder understand the risks presented by the increased focus and scrutiny on international business transactions. Our attorneys have substantial experience representing companies and individuals in FCPA matters, and have been involved in many cases and investigations handled by the DOJ’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which have primary jurisdiction over FCPA cases. We are also sensitive to the constant evolution of U.S. and international laws governing business practices.

Experience Highlights

Zuckerman Spaeder has experience representing both companies and individuals facing FCPA investigations and prosecutions. Our attorneys conduct internal investigations to identify possible violations, evaluate potential disclosures, and work with the government in efforts to avoid charges. When prosecution cannot be avoided, however, our attorneys are prepared to defend government enforcement actions and take FCPA cases to trial. With the government’s increasing focus on prosecuting individuals, we expect to see a continued increase in FCPA litigation, and Zuckerman Spaeder is prepared. Our team includes seasoned litigators, former prosecutors, and leaders of the white collar defense bar.

In addition to representing clients in criminal investigations and prosecutions, our attorneys also manage parallel proceedings initiated by the SEC and other government agencies.


With the increased threat of FCPA enforcement, many companies doing business overseas are evaluating their processes to prevent violations that could lead to costly prosecutions. To this end, Zuckerman Spaeder has assisted companies in developing FCPA compliance programs and in training executives and other employees regarding their responsibilities and liabilities for violations. In addition, we have drafted contractual provisions for FCPA compliance for international businesses and lawyers, and have handled suspension and debarment proceedings arising from violations of the FCPA and the anti-fraud provisions of federal and state law.