Book Review: Bribery and Corruption: Navigating the Global Risks

Originally printed in The Value Examiner

Bribery and Corruption: Navigating the Global Risks focuses primarily on the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), but also provides information on the U.K. Bribery Act and some other key international regulations.

For the uninitiated, the early chapters of the book provide a good overview of the laws, their application, and related regulations. For those already familiar with the laws, these chapters are a good review of the high points of the regulations.

The meat of this book lies in the middle six chapters, in which practical considerations and actions are discussed in detail. Compliance programs are thoroughly discussed, with the authors taking a step-by-step approach to the necessary components of a competent compliance effort. What this chapter lacks is practical applications. It is one thing to discuss important parts of the program and list the necessary components, but another thing to see this in action with examples that highlight real-world problems, and the solutions that could or should be applied.

The chapter on anti-bribery policies and procedures offers a thorough and logical rundown of the important components of a company’s program. Again, however, the authors fail to provide examples or real-world applications of the material in key parts of the chapter. For example, third-party due diligence is discussed in detail and in a way that may be put into practice. In contrast, seven examples of internal financial controls are listed, but none are demonstrated in a practical way. For readers unfamiliar with financial controls to prevent fraud, the list provided is insufficient to understand the application of any of the controls.

The book gets better as it goes, though. A chapter on risk assessments is much more thorough, including a case study woven into the chapter to illustrate the risk assessment process. The procedures outlined in the chapters on monitoring and anti-corruption due diligence provide a very helpful level of detail, making these valuable chapters as well. The chapter on investigations outlines a clear plan for investigating potential bribery and corruption cases, provides helpful lists, and returns to the case study to demonstrate the process.

Bribery & Corruption closes with chapters on regional considerations and industry considerations. Obviously, there may be special concerns in various geographical areas and specific risk factors in different industries. This is an extremely helpful portion of the book, although each region and industry is covered only briefly due to space limitations.

The authors are partners at Ernst & Young, serving in the firm’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services Practice. Brian P. Loughman is the Americas leader of the practice; he has experience investigation and remediating bribery and corruption issues for multinational clients, and frequently presents his findings to the SEC and Department of Justice. Richard A. Sibery has led complex international investigations for large public companies over six continents, including a wide range of industries.

I recommend this book for beginners and seasoned professionals, as it serves either as an introduction or refresher on key aspects of dealing with bribery and corruption. When developing anti-corruption programs, the book will not provide you everything you need to know, but will give you a strong foundation on which to build.

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