Anticorruption compliance training is a critical aspect of running a successful business. It helps companies adhere to laws and regulations and maintain a positive reputation. However, it is not just the responsibility of top-level management and compliance teams to ensure that a company is operating ethically and within legal bounds.
Every employee plays a crucial role in promoting and maintaining an ethical culture within the organization. That is why every employee should be trained in anticorruption compliance, especially in a context that favors rapid international expansion in emerging markets.
Some examples of Companies that learned the hard way
The cases below serve as a reminder of how lack of proper anti-corruption compliance training can lead to serious legal and financial consequences for a company. They also highlight the importance of implementing a robust compliance program and ensuring that all employees and executives receive regular and effective compliance training:
- Walmart: In 2019, Walmart was accused of failing to implement adequate anti-corruption compliance training for its employees and executives. The company was found to have paid bribes to government officials in Mexico in order to obtain permits and licenses more quickly. As a result, Walmart was forced to pay over $300 million in fines and implement a comprehensive compliance training program for all employees. The Department of Justice (DOJ) stated that the violations committed by Walmart were partly due to a business strategy that prioritized quick global expansion over compliance. The DOJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) both outlined instances in which Walmart or its subsidiary companies postponed the implementation of appropriate compliance and training programs and permitted inadequate internal accounting controls to remain in place despite warning signs and corruption accusations.
- GlaxoSmithKline: GSK is a British pharmaceutical company that was accused of failing to implement effective anti-corruption compliance training for its employees and executives. In 2013, GSK was found to have engaged in widespread bribery and corruption in China. The company was accused of using various illicit means to increase sales, including bribing doctors and government officials to prescribe and purchase their products.
As a result of these allegations, the Chinese government conducted an investigation and found that GSK had indeed engaged in bribery and corruption. The company was fined a total of $490 million, the largest corporate fine ever in China at the time, and several of its executives were arrested and charged with corruption.
In addition, GSK was also investigated by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The investigation revealed that GSK had failed to implement adequate anti-corruption compliance training for its employees and executives in China, which had led to the widespread bribery and corruption.
As a result of these investigations, GSK was forced to pay over $500 million in fines and implement a comprehensive compliance training program for all employees. The company also implemented a number of other measures to improve its compliance and anti-corruption efforts, including strengthening its internal controls, enhancing its compliance training, and increasing transparency in its business practices.
- Siemens AG is a German multinational engineering and technology company that was accused of failing to implement effective anti-corruption compliance training for its employees and executives. In 2008, the company settled with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) for $1.6 billion for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by bribing government officials in several countries including Argentina, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Venezuela.
The investigation revealed that Siemens had failed to implement adequate anti-corruption compliance training for its employees and executives, which had led to widespread bribery and corruption. The company had a weak compliance program and had failed to detect and prevent bribery and corrupt practices by its employees and executives.
As a result of the investigation, among other remediation measures, Siemens was forced to implement a comprehensive compliance training program for all employees and executives, and to strengthen its internal controls and oversight.
- Odebrecht is a Brazilian multinational conglomerate that was accused of failing to implement effective anti-corruption compliance training for its employees and executives. In 2016, the company pleaded guilty to violating the U.S Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for bribing government officials in 12 countries, including Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Peru.
The investigation revealed that Odebrecht had failed to implement adequate anti-corruption compliance training for its employees and executives, which had led to widespread bribery and corruption. The company had a weak compliance program, and had failed to detect and prevent bribery and corrupt practices by its employees and executives.
As a result of the investigation, Odebrecht was forced to pay a total of $3.5 billion in fines, including $2.6 billion to the U.S, $93 million to Brazil, and $116 million to Switzerland. The company also agreed to implement a comprehensive compliance program, including compliance training for all employees and executives, and to retain an independent compliance monitor for a period of three years.
Benefits of Anticorruption Compliance Training
Anti-corruption compliance training can have a wide range of benefits for businesses:
- First and foremost, as stated in the above examples, it helps companies avoid legal penalties and fines. Corruption is a serious crime and can result in significant fines and even prison sentences for those involved. By training employees to identify and report potential instances of corruption, companies can take proactive measures to avoid such scenarios.
- In addition to avoiding legal penalties, anticorruption compliance training can also help companies maintain a positive reputation. The public has a growing expectation that companies act ethically and with integrity. A company that is found to have engaged in corrupt activities can suffer significant damage to its reputation, leading to a loss of customers and revenue. By training employees to recognize and report potential instances of corruption, companies can take steps to ensure they maintain a positive reputation.
- Anti-corruption compliance training can also help companies foster a culture of integrity and ethical behavior. When employees are trained on what constitutes corruption and how to identify and report it, they are more likely to act in accordance with these values. This can lead to a more positive work environment and increased employee satisfaction. Employees are more likely to be engaged, motivated and loyal when they feel they are working for a company that values integrity and ethical behavior.
- Anti-corruption compliance training can also lead to cost savings for companies. Corruption often leads to inefficiencies and can result in the misallocation of resources. By preventing corruption, companies can reduce these inefficiencies and operate more effectively. Additionally, anti-corruption compliance training can also help companies avoid the high costs associated with investigations and legal proceedings in the event of a corruption scandal.
- Another key benefit of anti-corruption compliance training is that it can help companies expand their business opportunities. Some countries and organizations have strict rules against corruption and will only do business with companies that have robust anti-corruption compliance programs in place. By training employees on anti-corruption compliance, companies can position themselves to take advantage of new business opportunities and expand their reach globally.
Developing an Effective Anticorruption Compliance Training Program
Developing an effective anticorruption compliance program requires a thorough understanding of the FCPA and/or other applicable anticorruption laws or regulations, and the potential risks of exposure to active corruption. Companies should start by assessing their current compliance program and identifying any potential risks.
Once the company has identified potential risks, it should develop a comprehensive compliance program that outlines the procedures for preventing and detecting violations of the FCPA or other applicable international law/regulation. This program should include detailed instructions on how to identify and report suspicious activities, as well as the steps to take if a violation is discovered.
The program should also include procedures for training employees on anticorruption and their roles and responsibilities in the company’s compliance program. This training is essential for ensuring that employees understand their obligations under the FCPA or other anticorruption laws and can identify any suspicious activities.
How to Choose the Right Anticorruption Compliance Training Course
Choosing the right anticorruption compliance training course can be a daunting task. To ensure that you choose the right course for your company, it’s important to assess your current compliance program and identify any potential risks.
Once you have identified potential risks, you should research the various anticorruption compliance training courses available and compare them to your company’s needs. It’s important to choose a course that provides comprehensive coverage of the FCPA and other international anticorruption/ anti bribery laws, as well as detailed instructions on how to identify and report suspicious activities.
It’s also important to choose a course that is tailored to your company’s specific needs. You should look for courses that focus on the areas of your compliance program that need the most attention. This will ensure that you get the most out of your anticorruption compliance training.
Anticorruption compliance is not only a legal and moral responsibility for businesses but also a strategic one. Training every employee on anti-corruption compliance can help companies avoid legal penalties, maintain a positive reputation, foster a culture of integrity and ethical behavior, lead to cost savings, and expand their business opportunities. Companies should take the time to provide comprehensive anticorruption compliance training to all employees and ensure they understand the importance of adhering to the company’s anti-corruption policies.
Anticorruption training is an essential part of any company’s compliance program. It helps ensure that employees are aware of their obligations under the FCPA or other international applicable laws and can identify and report any suspicious activities that may be in violation of the law.
Finally, it’s important to choose the right anticorruption compliance training course for your company. By carefully researching the various courses available and choosing one that is tailored to your company’s specific needs, you can ensure that you get the most out of your anticorruption compliance training.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your company is compliant with the FCPA and other international anticorruption or anti-bribery laws and protect your company’s reputation.
But let’s not forget, compliance doesn’t have to be boring! Just like how a fire drill is a necessary evil, compliance training can be made fun and interactive. In fact, it’s been said that “compliance is the new black”, so let’s embrace it and make it fashionable.
Don’t let corruption harm your business. Protect your company and employees by investing in our comprehensive anti-corruption compliance training services. Our team of experts will work with you to tailor a training program that meets the specific needs of your organization and the markets in which it operates. Together, we can ensure that your business stays on the right side of the law and maintains a positive reputation in the industry.
We’ll help you identify potential areas of risk and provide your employees with the knowledge and tools they need to maintain an ethical and compliant culture within your company. Don’t wait until it’s too late, take action now and contact us to schedule your training today.