Welcome to Compliance Man Chooses the Target with Tim Khasanov-Batirov and Tom Fox series. Today we a have a special Christmas podcast. Our goal is to highlight matters that should be on agenda of practitioners that deploy compliance programs in industries or countries of active FCPA enforcement. We target three specific matters that you might like to address in the course of implementation of your compliance program. Today we will focus on classical but evergreen topic of gifts giving.
How to kill your corporate gifts policy? If you work at the HQ of an international corporation and believes that all questions with gifts giving in your company are already settled many years ago you might be wrong. The most unpleasant news could be that the reason of this problem are not necessarily rogue managers in the fields, who deliberately violate rules. Look at your global gifts policy and if it says something like “gifts of nominal value are allowed” there is big chance that the problem is already there. Assume that in some countries at which your company operates per local legislation (or updates in the legislation) gifts giving to state officials are prohibited as such or this process is a subject to certain limitations. In ideal case your global policy is adopted in each jurisdiction by local compliance team. We recommend checking out if it is really so as most likely you don’t have compliance folks in each jurisdiction of corporate presence. Another typical problem is when simultaneously in each respective jurisdiction there are two policies. The global one, which allows petty gifts, even if it contains a clause on prevalence of local laws and a tailored gifts policy adopted by an office in the respective jurisdiction. In reality the personnel in the fields will get confused which policy to follow.
The FCPA enforcement practice clearly demonstrates absolute ban on entertainment of state officials and PEPs by companies. It is also clear that it is forbidden to give luxurious gifts and even sometimes small gifts if there is a corruption intent. Still there is a grey area for list of non-luxurious gifts which still might be considered as non-appropriate from my point of view even if there is no intent to influence decision taking. I mean alcohol, for instance. In some jurisdictions it is a common practice to give alcohol as Christmas gift. From my prospective it is not right but still it is just a personal view, not a law.
Non-Toxic Gift We have touched a couple of problems related to gifts giving and now it is time to get back to talking about pleasant sides of Christmas. It is time to say that Compliance Man has launched a channel at you tube called ‘Compliance Man by Timur Khasanov-Batirov” aimed on sharing compliance tips with professional community.
The first video of the series called “1001 Compliance days” is available here. Please feel free to comment and subscribe.
Merry Christmas to everyone from Compliance Man!
Join us for the next episode of Compliance Man Chooses the Target with Tim Khasanov-Batirov in 2020.