The call, email or tip comes into your office; an employee reports suspicious activity somewhere across the globe. That activity might well turn into a FCPA issue for your company. As the CCO, it will be up to you to begin the process which will determine, in many instances, how the company will respond going forward.
This scenario was driven home by the SEC in a 2015 FCPA enforcement action involving Mead Johnson Nutrition Company. In this enforcement action, the company performed two internal investigations into allegations that its Chinese business unit was engaged in conduct which violated the FCPA. Unfortunately, the first investigation, performed in 2011, did not turn up any evidence of FCPA violations. It was not until 2013, when the SEC made an inquiry to the company that it performed an adequate internal investigation which uncovered FCPA violations.
Three key takeaways:
- The DOJ and SEC put special emphasis on internal reporting lines.
- Test your hotline on a regular basis to make sure it is working.
- Have a triage protocol in place before the call comes in so you will be ready to go and not required to scramble to create a protocol.