Yesterday, I shared with you this post re-capping Alishan Naqvee’s introduction to the topic of anti-corruption at our 2011 Annual Meeting.  To follow up on that, we’ll review Stuart Gerson’s (Epstein Becker & Green) comments during the session regarding the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and its implications for those in the room.  

Stuart provided the attendees with both an article he and a colleague authored on the FCPA, and an overview that their healthcare group had developed.  Stuart said that as Alishan had mentioned, both the FCPA and the new UK Anti-Bribery law are extraterritorial – but not only are they applied overseas throughout the world, but they are also applied against non-US citizens, as long as the commerce that they’re supporting is in the stream of interstate commerce within the US.

So non-US citizens who have never stepped food in the US are subject to the FCPA, which is a criminal statute that has long jail sentences associated with it.  Additionally, they have fines up to $2 million per offense – and an offense is an individual act, so there could be a long series of them that results in the fines adding up to immense sums.  And this is applicable all around the world.


Continue Reading Corporate Breakout Session – Anti-Corruption Laws – the FCPA

During our  2011 Annual Meeting in Lisbon, we had specialty group breakout sessions – and lucky for you, our corporate session was recorded! The group had a roundtable discussion dedicated to the topic of "Anti-Corruption Laws and Navigating Client Businesses in Foreign Territories," which was moderated by Alishan Naqvee of LexCounsel Lawyers in India.

Alishan began with some slides to aid the discussion, saying that there is an organization in Japan called Control Risks, who conducted a survey of about 50 companies in Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.  All of them said that corruption is a major cost for international business, and at the same time, an increasing number of companies in the world, while they are not absolutely aware of the anti-corruption laws in their jurisdictions, most of their business is governed by them, even when doing business in other jurisdictions.

However, corruption brings a very different dimension in cross-border investments, because the country from where the investee is investing and the country where the investment is being made may be governed by separate parameters and laws.  These could be domestic, but at the same time, there could be laws from the country where the investment is being made.


Continue Reading Corporate Breakout Session – A Re-Cap

Following Mr. Thao’s presentation on the Vietnamese Lawyers Federation and the history of the legal industry in Vietnam, the delegates turned their attention to Alex Larkin, who talked about the legal framework for foreign investment and the establishment of business entities in Vietnam.  Alex is a transplant from Washington State, so he had a unique perspective on the opportunities available to foreign investors.

Part 2 of this post will address Alex’s comments on the energy-producing sector as a potential for foreign investment.

Alex began by saying that the government is taking action that attracts and encourages foreign direct investment (FDI)  They want to encourage the export of goods and reform the administration procedures in order to reduce bureaucratic inefficiencies.

Vietnam, because of its history, is a very bureaucratic place governmentally.  It’s very slow – while you can get anything done, it will always take a long time.  So there has been a lot of effort recently to reform these procedures to make things more attractive for investors.  One such effort is "e-government" which will allow people to do things online more efficiently.


Continue Reading Legal Framework for Foreign Investment & Establishment of Business Entities in Vietnam with Alex Larkin