The Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (FEPA): A bill seeking to fill a gap in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) - August 2019

house of parliament washington ile ilgili görsel sonucuAt the moment, a U.S. company extorted for a bribe in foreign countries can only say ‘I can’t pay you a bribe because it is illegal and I might get arrested.’ FEPA would enable them to add, ‘and so will you.'

The Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (FEPA) was introduced on 2 August 2019 in the House of Representatives in the USA. The legislation, developed with the support of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, will criminalize extortion by foreign officials, enabling the Department of Justice to indict such officials for demanding bribes to fulfill, neglect, or violate their official duties. Currently, only paying or offering a bribe abroad is illegal under U.S. law.

It is a well-known fact that transnational kleptocrats pose a serious threat to the world. They undermine the rule of law in their own countries and worldwide, and access elite circles and levers of power in democracies through strategic graft and corruption. It appears that this legislation will target the problem of transnational kleptocracy[1] that has damaged the USA.

FEPA will criminalize all extortion by foreign officials. The bill will effectively act as a complement to the FCPA, allowing the U.S. to criminalize the entire process of bribery abroad.

Furthermore, the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act will bring U.S. laws in line with the best practices. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which maintains the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention—a key international mechanism for fighting foreign bribery—has recognized the importance of criminalizing transnational extortion in a recent report. In addition, several countries including the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland have already criminalized foreign extortion.

[1] Kleptocracy is a governance of corrupt leaders (kleptocrats) who use their power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own territory in order to extend their personal wealth and political powers.