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Oil-for-food scandal shows pressure U.S. companies face when they work overseas

Oil-for-food scandal shows pressure U.S. companies face when they work overseas

by Rick Turoczy on October 28, 2005

Bribery is more dangerous than it used to be. Since 1977, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has barred U.S. companies from bribing overseas government officials. In 1997 European countries followed suit with their own anti-bribery protocols, which the U.S. also signed. And in the United States, the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley law made executives liable for fraud at their companies, raising the stakes further.

Wrage said she used to hear from some businesspeople, “‘Isn’t bribery just a victimless crime?’ I don’t hear that anymore. It’s just become too expensive now,” especially for U.S. companies.

“There was a time not that many years ago where it was like the Wild West out there – companies would do what they thought they had to do to win business, regardless of ethics,” Hershman said.

Several experts said European enforcement has been lax, though. Wrage said there have been prosecutions in only 11 countries, and many of them have targeted American companies instead of companies based in their own countries, she said.

Oil-for-food scandal shows pressure U.S. companies face when they work overseas: “Sarbanes”

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