This year the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Development Programme have developed a joint global campaign, focusing on how corruption affects education, health, justice, democracy, prosperity and development.

The UNODC Executive Director said: “If people are to be removed from poverty and economic growth promoted, the world must stand united against corruption. This means rejecting corruption and embracing accountability, transparency and good governance”.

This year’s campaign is a timely reminder to all businesses to review compliance procedures and to ensure that they are fit for purpose. To help you, we have identified 5 key compliance lessons extrapolated from recent resolutions.

1. For higher risk jurisdictions, have local compliance professionals on the ground

Time and again, the SEC has emphasized the need to have compliance professionals permanently based in higher risk countries.

2.  Structure compliance and/or internal audit to work with, but independent of, the business 

Two companies were criticized because company executives influenced the content of an internal audit report and withheld information from outside counsel.

3.  Exercise caution when relying on an affiliate to conduct diligence for you 

The UK authorities signaled that relying on an affiliate in a higher risk jurisdiction to conduct diligence without any oversight, review or independent diligence did not qualify for the adequate procedures defence.

4. You need not “boil the ocean” when conducting an investigation but should look beyond the specific allegation of misconduct

If there is a problem with one or some relationships with third parties that are retained by a division or in a certain region, the investigation should reasonably broaden to review other similar relationships.

5.  Create structures that demonstrate that compliance has teeth 

The SEC has recently praised a company that remediated controls by elevating the role of Chief Compliance Officer and giving the CCO the authority to independently terminate employees and partner contracts.


Keep track of anti-bribery and corruption laws with Bribery Watch

Bribery Watch is an online summary and comparison of anti-bribery and corruption laws and enforcement in 150 countries available to our clients. It allows you to check how different countries approach common issues, including the giving of gifts, hospitality and other advantages, such as charitable or political donations.

For more information, please speak to your local Freshfields contact.