Unfortunately, Bribery To Remain Illegal During Pandemic

Amidst the chaos and dislocations brought about by the coronavirus epidemic, the regulators have taken a somewhat uneven approach to alleviating the burdens they impose on businesses. Certainly, they are keeping their eye out for those who might seek to take advantage of the present situation to illicit or otherwise immoral effect. Some SEC filings are off for the time being, but stress tests are on. And if you happen to be thinking that now might be a pretty good time to go about bribing some foreign officials, think again.

“Reporting and detecting misconduct continue to be very important things for companies to do,” said David Fuhr, an assistant chief of the U.S. Justice Department’s anti-foreign-bribery unit. Prosecutors are trying to be reasonable given the conditions companies face as a result of the pandemic, but “compliance has to continue,” he said….

“The mechanics of how we do our job has been affected pretty significantly,” said Robert Dodge, an assistant director of the SEC’s FCPA unit who also spoke on the webinar. But he said the agency was continuing to work.

“Nothing has been put on hold,” Mr. Dodge said. “It’s not that the rules no longer apply; the rules very much apply.”

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