Executive summary

No review of this type would be complete without touching on the what-ifs. But that’s no easy task: it’s impossible to predict the bribery and corruption landscape around the world with 100% certainty. It is possible, though, to examine trends and to project what might happen under a given set of circumstances in a given country at a given time. We also draw on our work day-to-day advising clients like you. This spans compliance, investigations, and enforcement, as well as dealing with regulators and other authorities.

As we head into uncertain times, the circumstances we talk about here are fast changing. So this report can only guide you to a point. Beyond that, we’re on hand for when you need to know more.

Here are the topics we cover:

Agencies combine their efforts

In the United States, the FBI has added to its FCPA unit, creating three dedicated investigative teams. The DOJ and SEC often work as one to enforce the FCPA. And the list of foreign law enforcement agencies — from Austria to Gibraltar to the UAE — that cooperate with U.S. authorities grows each year. With these measures in place, coordinated, cross-border, corporate enforcement actions look set to rise.

Privilege and cooperation

In the UK, mixed messages are circling what the SFO and the English courts expect when it comes to cooperation, especially around the vexed issue of privilege. The SFO can’t, at least formally, treat the assertion of privilege as a lack of cooperation. But it clearly seeks to encourage and reward waiver. It is also prepared to litigate over “false or exaggerated” claims to privilege concerning materials produced during an internal investigation. We weigh up the benefits and the risks of cooperation, and where we stand on privilege.

Anticorruption enforcement reaches a milestone

In Latin America, governmental bodies have begun to improve anticorruption enforcement. From investigations to international collaboration, Brazil has revamped its approach to corruption and has seen notable results. Mexico has new and revised laws that bring about a raft of changes, from penalties for private individuals to protection for whistleblowers. We report on Mexico and Argentina as well.

Cross-border investigations

For the most part, investigations of any sort are unwelcome, challenging, and time-consuming; they’re fast becoming commonplace for global companies. They bring myriad issues to contend with — local laws, authorities, internal stakeholders, and so on. If mishandled, these can create conflicting obligations. But there are steps you can take to minimize the impact of an investigation, if you know the pitfalls.

A varied enforcement environment

Draft amendments to China’s Anti-Unfair Competition Law, if enacted, will see Chinese law take a step closer to Western legislation. Australia is adapting its legislative approach to corporate crime. Meanwhile, South East Asia faces a challenging year, as anticorruption enforcement in the region remains unpredictable, with a few exceptions such as Singapore.

Detection and enforcement are on the agenda

Africa has an embedded bribery and corruption problem as well as other barriers to doing business, but it has reached a turning point.

A focus on compliance

Drawing on our global study Steering the Course, we offer a glimpse of compliance in the real world. For more on the study and to get full access to the results, please visit We can help you make your compliance program a living, breathing document that you keep in sync with the regulatory environment.

Crispin Rapinet
Head of the Practice
Partner, London
T +44 20 7296 5167

Michael Roberts
Partner, London
T +44 20 7296 5387

Stephanie Yonekura
Partner, Los Angeles
T +1 310 785 4668