The FCPA prohibits offers, payments, and promises to pay foreign officials that are made corruptly to obtain a business benefit.  The term “corruptly” has been construed by courts to require proof of a quid pro quo or specific intent to give or receive something of value in exchange for an official act.  In other words, the act of providing something of value to a foreign official must be wrongfully intended to influence the recipient and must create an expectation of receiving a specific benefit in return.1  As one court put it, a “generalized hope” or “expectation of ultimate benefit,” including promoting goodwill, does not suffice.2

Rarely susceptible to direct proof, a showing of corrupt intent is typically based on inferences drawn from circumstantial evidence.

1 H.R. Rep. No. 95-640, at 7-8 (1977); S. Rep. No. 95-114, at 10 (1977).

2 See United States v. Arthur, 544 F.2d 730, 734 (4th Cir. 1976).

More topics in this series