By Christopher M. Matthews
The study, released Tuesday by Kroll Advisory Solutions, found that only 48.7% of Asia Pacific companies had made thorough assessments of risks arising from enforcement of the U.K. Bribery Act and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Both laws prohibit bribes to foreign officials to win business and apply to companies listed on stock exchanges in the two countries.
Those that have not performed such assessments, 51.3%, either believed that their internal controls are not sufficient or simply do not know how robust their compliance systems are, the study found.
“In Asia, internal compliance and legal teams are often not suitably staffed or experienced to handle a serious whistleblower allegation, and they don’t always know what to do when accusations are made,” Penelope Lepeudry, managing director Southeast Asia for Kroll Advisory Solutions, said in a news release.
The report surveyed more 200 senior executives at Asia-Pacific companies over the last year.
U.S. authorities have previously targeted Asian companies. In January, Japanese trading company Marubeni Corp. agreed to pay a $54.6 million criminal penalty under the FCPA for its role in a decade-long bribery scheme in Nigeria. In 2011, Japanese engineering and construction company JGC Corp. 1963.TO +0.26% agreed to pay a $218.8 million criminal penalty for the role it played in the same scheme.
Kroll said the findings were somewhat surprising, given that a past survey conducted by the investigative firm in first half of 2012 found that more than 70% of Asia-Pacific companies believed they were vulnerable to corruption and bribery.
This article was written by Christopher M. Matthews and originally published on blogs.wsj