FCPA: Doing Business In Italy-Step Up Your FCPA Compliance Now

Ed. Note-I met last week with Craig Bloom, a colleague who practices law in Houston. Craig, who is fluent in Italian, was telling me about some of the compliance issues that have been percolating in Italy and in Italian companies. I asked him if he would write a piece on his thoughts, which he graciously agreed to do…

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is no stranger to scandal and controversial statements, but lately his words and actions seem to be providing cause for concern outside of the European Union.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal, in addition to Italian media outlets, reported that the Chief Executive of one of Italy’s largest conglomerates, Finmeccanica, SpA, Giuseppe Orsi, was arrested under allegations of bribery in Finmeccanica’s sale of twelve helicopters to the Indian Government in 2010. As a result, the Indian Government has suspended the sale pending an investigation into these allegations. It is important to note here that according to the Wall Street Journal, the Italian Government owns just over 30% of Finmeccanica. Now, Italian investigators are looking into the company’s dealings in Latin America, Asia, and other EU countries.

But Berlusconi added even more fuel to the fire last week, while speaking to an Italian news channel, by stating his belief that bribes are a necessary part of doing business. Quoting the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera, in an article entitled, “Paying Bribes Abroad A Matter of Necessity”, hesaid “We can no longer compete abroad. We’ve been shooting ourselves in the foot. No one will do business any more with ENI, or ENEL, or Finmeccanica. Bribery exists. It’s pointless to ignore reality. Paying a bribe abroad is a matter of necessity.” But the former Prime Minister, who is running for reelection, did not stop with those remarks above ...

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