Understanding the Surge in Individual Enforcement: Bribery & Corruption

Understanding the Surge in Individual Enforcement: Bribery & Corruption

In the past year, there has been a worldwide surge in anti-bribery and anti-corruption (ABAC) enforcement. White collar crime investigations have resulted in, for example, the imprisonment of South Korea’s President, the arrest of over 200 people in Saudi Arabia (including members of the Saudi royal family), and the scrutinization of the United States (U.S.) President’s first year in office. While these high-profile stories have received significant media attention, the trend toward individualized prosecutions (promoted by the Yates Memorandum) has had far-reaching implications in the business world as well.


Criminal prosecutions for bribery and corruption are on the rise. Can your due diligence program keep you safe? Find out in the free guide: Combating Bribery & Corruption in the Supply Chain.  


From Company-Level Enforcement to Individual Criminalization

Many companies have found themselves at the center of global enforcement actions that took aim at individual actors involved in bribery and corruption activities, rather than merely targeting the organization at large (for example, see here and here). This recurring theme of individual enforcement is reshaping the ABAC landscape, and necessitates a re-evaluation of corporate compliance programs to ensure companies remain on the right side of the law.

This recent pivot in enforcement action reveals two key takeaways:

  • Existing ABAC compliance programs have gaps related to the determination of risks housed within data originating from parties operating outside of the organization.
  • The recent focus on making individuals liable for bribery and corruption (rather than just the companies at large) is having its intended effect. Criminal prosecution among supply chain partners, intermediaries, distributors and consultants is being used as leverage to get individuals to testify against other parties involved in wrongdoing.

Staying Out of Trouble

These points suggest a clear course of action corporations must take to avoid becoming the next headline.

Specifically, ABAC programs can no longer exist as internal programs, reliant upon whistleblower hotlines, an annual internal training course, and a code of conduct. Rather, engagement and communication must extend beyond the four walls of the organization to include the performance of survey-driven supply chain self-assessments, in-depth training for external actors, and regular audits to identify risks and red flags.

Assent’s ABAC compliance solution equips you to manage all these activities from one central software platform. Integrated features include the Campaign Manager (which lets you survey your entire supply chain for ABAC risk at once) and the Assent University Classroom (a compliance learning management system that meets both your internal and external ABAC training needs). This ensures companies have access to the highest-quality supply chain communication, data collection and training systems on the market.

For more information on our ABAC Module (part of our wider Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Suite), visit our website or send us your questions directly at info@assentcompliance.com.

Newsletter