In the normal course of business, certain payments for the benefit of government officials may be covered for bona fide business purposes. For example, paying the reasonable travel expenses for a prospective state-owned entity customer to visit and inspect the company’s manufacturing plant may be a legitimate expense. Likewise, the giving of small gifts in connection with business meetings or holidays may be customary and accepted in certain countries.
However, gifts, travel, and entertainment are a common area of ABC risk. Companies should adopt clear policies and procedures to evaluate any proposal to provide gifts, travel, and entertainment before such expenses are incurred.
The FCPA contains two affirmative defenses relevant to gifts, travel and entertainment. For more on the local law affirmative defense, see here and for more on the promotional- or contract-related expenses affirmative defense, see here.