Companies overlooking local anti-corruption laws, firm warns

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Companies doing business in Asia need to give more attention to compliance with local anti-corruption laws, according to a new guide by Herbert Smith Freehills

Following the expansion of Asia-Pacific anti-corruption laws, investors and companies should be focussing on compliance in their dealings with Asia.

“In today's compliance environment, it is the local anti-corruption laws that more often impose the strictest requirements and create the greatest enforcement risk for locally incorporated organisations and their employees,” said Kyle Wombolt, Global Head of Herbert Smith Freehills' Corporate Crime and Investigations team.

Wombolt said the guide surveyed 15 countries, many of which were found to have introduced new legislation or strengthened their existing regulatory framework.

“Now, we are seeing the first investigations and prosecutions under many of these new laws,” said Wombolt.  “The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act remains the backbone of anti-corruption investigation worldwide, but as local laws strengthen, it is no longer the only statute on the minds of companies and compliance officers in the region.”

“We are also seeing a significant increase in the number of cross-border investigations, as regulators and enforcement agencies work more closely together,” he added.