The Language of Bribery and the Problem of Anti-Corruption Communications


The Overseas Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is a extensively enforced anti-corruption legislation. Whereas many companies and people are conscious of the hefty penalties that include violating this legislation, there’s a want for additional schooling.

Intentional prison exercise is one factor, however a extra refined challenge lies beneath the floor. Non-compliance with FCPA legal guidelines can occur simpler than many banking and finance firms are conscious of, and the price of these errors is steep.

One Individual’s Expertise with FCPA Violations

Richard Bistrong got here to know the price all too effectively. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail and confronted 5 years of incarceration for violating FCPA laws. Because of his intensive cooperation with the U.S. and U.Okay. investigative and prosecutorial authorities, the choose diminished his sentence, and Bistrong ended up serving simply 14 months in jail.

The Totally different Phrases Describing a Bribe

Bistrong spent 10 years because the worldwide gross sales vp of a worldwide enterprise. Bistrong’s firm supplied him with a replica of FCPA earlier than he boarded his first flight, which served because the extent of his compliance coaching.

Whereas Bistrong labored in Argentina, a colleague advised him by a translator, “A part of my success is by paying tolls to win tenders.”

Bistrong knew what he meant, but it surely was within the subsequent 15 years that he discovered an incredible array of phrases used to explain a bribe—” tolls,” “caring for,” “making individuals pleased,” and even “chocolate.”

Based on Bistrong, the one phrase not used to explain a bribe was “bribe.”

Sliding Down the Slippery Slope

Within the early 2000s, Bistrong encountered a chance that he seen as an escalation from head-nodding. He was requested to bribe a Dutch police official to win a legislation enforcement contract.

To take action, he used the phrases handle, as in, “We’ll handle this official to win the contract.” That’s when Bistrong began to embrace the concept corruption was part of doing enterprise.

Whereas many would possibly view corruption and violation of the FCPA as nefarious acts, the fact is that it creeps into organizations in a way more refined method. It begins with the mindset of “caring for individuals,” closing offers faster, and making an attempt to accommodate for inefficient processes.

From there, the slope is a slippery one.

How Harmless Intentions Can Grow to be Violations

One of many struggles of catching corruption is the dearth of visibility. These delicate and unlawful conversations usually occur in individual and behind closed doorways, with out witnesses. In some circumstances, the one different individuals current throughout these conversations are translators.

In Bistrong’s expertise, counting on translators restricted his information of what was transpiring. He needed to belief that the translator was relaying all the small print and nuances of the opposite businessperson’s message.

In different circumstances, individuals in these non-compliant transactions trade textual content messages or emails from personal accounts. If messages are despatched by a monitored company system, they sometimes comprise code phrases and hidden meanings.

SYSTRAN, an Important FCPA Compliance Instrument.

Richard Bistrong’s story is just not an anomaly. Banking and finance firms know that non-compliance creeps into their organizations in refined methods. This consciousness prompts companies worldwide to be proactive with their inner compliance requirements.

That’s the place SYSTRAN is available in. SYSTRAN software program comprises intensive colloquial dictionaries, up to date recurrently by linguists because the languages evolve. This characteristic makes it potential to be much less reliant on human translators throughout consequential conversations.

If Bistrong’s story makes you keen to guage your group’s present compliance requirements, you don’t have to attend. Obtain SYSTRAN’s compliance monitoring workbook, a free device for documenting the processes you have already got in place and figuring out areas for enchancment.


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