The FCPA prohibits the corrupt provision of anything of value directly or indirectly to foreign officials, foreign political parties, and candidates for foreign political office.

Foreign officials include officers, employees, and persons acting in an official capacity on behalf of

  • a foreign government at the federal, regional, state, local, or municipal levels;
  • a department or agency of a foreign government;
  • an instrumentality of a foreign government; or
  • a “public international organization.”1

The term instrumentality is not defined by the statute.  US enforcement authorities broadly construe the term to include state-owned or -controlled enterprises.  Assessing whether an entity is an instrumentality under the FCPA is a fact-intensive inquiry turning on numerous factors.2  For more on those factors, see here.

The FCPA defines public international organization as those organizations designated as such by Executive Order.  Examples include the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the African Union, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.  For a complete list, see here.


1 15 USC §§ 78dd-1(f)(1)(A), 78dd-2(h)(2)(A), 78dd-3(f)(2)(A).

2 United States v. Esquenazi, 752 F.3d 912, 925-26 (11th Cir. 2014).


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