Minnesota Law Review

Note, Sweetening the Deal: Strengthening Transnational Bribery Laws Through Standard International Corporate Auditing Guidelines

Despite the existence of laws on the books against transnational bribery in most developed nations, prosecution of the crime is oftentimes half hearted. This Note explores a number of options to promote the punishment of corrupt businesses that bribe foreign officials, even when the prosecution of these businesses might not be in the public interest of the company’s home country. First, it examines several past efforts to root out transnational bribery in the United States and Europe, most notably the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Second, it critiques several new developments in the war against transnational bribery, including the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the ratification of an antibribery treaty by members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Finally, it proposes a more robust treaty that not only outlaws transnational bribery, but also gives developed nations the tools and the motivation to detect it. In particular, an international treaty against transnational bribery should prohibit the bribing of foreign government officials, punish companies that keep inaccurate and incomplete records, and provide incentives for private shareholders to support ratification and enforcement of treaty obligations. Such a treaty would level the playing field for businesses, cutting corruption and making corporations and governments more transparent to taxpayers and shareholders.

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