Congress expands DOJ’s authority to pursue corrupt non-US government officials with Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (FEPA)

On 14 December 2023, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (NDAA), the U.S. Congress enacted the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (FEPA). The FEPA creates criminal liability for foreign public officials who solicit or accept bribes from certain categories of US persons and companies and thus mirrors the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

FEPA was primarily intended to equalise the playing field for companies conducting business outside the United States. Foreign corroboration by corporations (i.e., the supply side of bribery) is explicitly forbidden by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in the case of multinational corporations. FEPA thus criminalises the demand side of bribery, which consists of foreign officials soliciting or accepting bribes. This affords businesses the chance to counter the corrupt demands of foreign officials by emphasising that, due to FEPA, both the business and the government official may be held criminally liable for the bribe.

Infractions of the FEPA may result in i) a fine of up to USD 250’000 or three times the monetary equivalent of the valuable item (in contrast to the FCPA, which imposes a maximum penalty of two times the monetary gain or loss suffered by another individual), or ii) imprisonment for a maximum of 15 years (in contrast to the FCPA’s statutory maximum of five years imprisonment). In addition, the US Attorney General is obligated by FEPA to release a yearly report that provides a summary of the primary enforcement actions undertaken by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in accordance with the law.


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Thursday, 21 March 2024
Thursday, 20 March 2025