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经济学人:海外贿赂

2014-02-17    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Business商业 

Bribery abroad海外贿赂

A tale of two laws两部法律的故事

America's anti-corruption law deters foreign investment. Britain's is smarter
美国的反贪法吓阻了对外投资,英国的就精明了一些

BRIBING foreign officials is wrong, but not everything governments do to prevent it is wise or proportional. Firms are increasingly fed up with the way America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is written (confusingly) and applied (vigorously). The law was passed in 1977, but recent years have seen a spike in enforcement, from five actions in 2004 to 74 in 2010. Five of the ten biggest settlements ever were last year, including a $400m fine against BAE Systems, a British defence contractor, and a $365m fine against ENI, an Italian oil firm.
贿赂外国官员是不对的,但不是所有为了防止此类事件的政府行为都是明智和恰当的。许多企业都越来越不能忍受美国《反海外腐败法》(FCPA)其令人困惑的表述和不知疲倦的运用了。该法案于1977年通过,可是近几年实施的频率创下了新高,从2004年的5起到2010年的74起。最大的10起已解决案例中5起都发生在去年,包括对英国BAE系统公司(一个英国国防承包商)的4亿美元罚款和对埃尼石油公司(ENI,一家意大利石油企业)的3.65亿美元罚款。

On August 31st the Wall Street Journal reported that the Department of Justice has been investigating Oracle, a database-software company, for a year. Unusually, Oracle has said nothing about the investigation. Ethisphere, a promoter of corporate responsibility, rated Oracle one of the world's most ethical companies in 2009. Mike Koehler, a law professor at Butler University in Indiana, writes that General Electric, HP, AstraZeneca and others have all been among Ethisphere's "World's Most Ethical" while settling FCPA prosecutions or under investigation.
据《华尔街日报》8月31日报道,美国司法部已经调查甲骨文--一家数据库软件公司--一年了。不寻常的是,甲骨文公司对此只字未提。而此前Ethisphere--一家推动商业道德的智库企业--把甲骨文评定为2009年全球最具有商业道德的企业之一。巴特勒大学的法学教授Mike Koehler写道,通用电气、惠普、英国阿斯利康和其他一些公司都在被Ethisphere评为全球最具商业道德企业的同时面临《反海外腐败法》的起诉或者调查。

An FCPA action is an ordeal. Few firms dare risk going to court—only two cases against corporations have ever resulted in completed trials. The vast majority of cases are settled, which can take years. Listed companies must satisfy not only the Department of Justice, but also the Securities and Exchange Commission, which enforces the FCPA provisions requiring accurate records of all business dealings (to deter or detect illicit payments). Before the department and the commission will sign off on a settlement, the company must satisfy them that the rest of its operations are squeaky clean. Narrow investigations can mutate into broad ones that cost tens of millions of dollars.
涉及《反海外腐败法》的诉讼是极其折磨人的。几乎没有一家公司敢于上法庭—历史上公司被起诉的案例中只有两例是完全结案的。绝大多数案子的结果都是长达数年的调解。上市公司不仅要使司法部满意,还要履行由美国证券交易委员会执行的《反海外腐败法》部分条款--对所有交易的如实记录(为了防止和发现非法支付)。在司法部和委员会同意一项和解之前,公司必须保证其其他业务都绝对的干净。一个小范围的调查都会变成耗费数千万美元的广泛调查。

And bosses can be sent to prison for up to 20 years if their companies fall foul of the FCPA. In theory, they could be jailed because a staff member at a foreign subsidiary bribed an official without their knowledge. In some cases, the law insists that directors ought to know about dodgy goings-on, even if they do not.
而且,企业如果触犯了《反海外腐败法》,它的老板最长将会被监禁20年之久。理论上,一个在海外分公司的员工贿赂当地的官员都有可能导致其不知情的老板坐牢。在一些情况下,法律坚持认为主管们对这些不诚实的小动作是知情的,即使他们确实不知道。

This is a hefty deterrent to doing business in poor countries, some studies have found. Andy Spalding, a law professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, likens the way the FCPA is enforced to "de facto sanctions" on countries where corruption is rife. A study by KPMG, a consultancy, found that a third of British and a quarter of American companies would simply steer clear of corruption-prone countries to avoid the risk of being prosecuted. Firms from less fussy places, such as China, will happily fill the gap.
一些研究发现,这极大的遏制了去贫穷国家的商业活动。Chicago-Kent法学院的法学教授Andy Spalding把《反海外腐败法》的实施看成是对腐败猖獗的国家"实际上的制裁"。咨询机构毕马威的一项研究显示,三分之一的英国和三分之二的美国公司干脆直接放弃腐败猖獗的国家来避免被起诉的风险。

The US Chamber of Commerce, a business lobby, says the FCPA also deters foreign mergers and acquisitions. A firm inherits the sins of a company it buys, even if it has done reasonable due diligence, the chamber says. To avoid this risk, it must conduct the equivalent of a "vast internal investigation", says the chamber. Many firms find it simpler to stay at home.
美国商会--一个商业游说团体--说,《反海外腐败法》还阻止了境外合并和收购。它说,一家公司哪怕进行了合理尽职的调查,也会背负上它收购的公司的罪行。商会还说,为了避免这样的风险,一家公司必须相当于开展一次大规模的内部调查。许多公司觉得还不如呆在国内好了。

A new British anti-bribery law, passed in 2010, appears to have been better crafted. The Bribery Act is broad and tough. It covers bribery within Britain as well as abroad. In contrast to the FCPA, it makes no exception for small "facilitation payments" to speed up routine business such as customs checks or visas.
英国2010年通过的新反贿赂法看起来在这上面费了一番功夫。这个贿赂法案广泛而严厉。它覆盖了英国本土和海外贿赂的情况。与美国的《反海外腐败法》不同,它没有对加快常规事务的小额"便捷性支付"(比如海关查验和签证)网开一面。

But it is fair, too. Unlike the FCPA, it has a "compliance defence" that allows a company to avoid the harshest penalties if the wrongdoer is a junior employee and the firm otherwise has a strict anti-bribery policy which is clear to all employees and effectively administered. One rogue employee can't easily cause a crippling probe into an otherwise blameless company.
它也很公平。不像美国的《反海外腐败法》,英国的反贿赂法有一个"合规性抗辩"--如果犯错的是一个初级雇员而且公司有一个在全公司明确表达且有效执行的反贿赂政策,就可使公司免于最严厉的惩罚。这样一个无赖雇员就不能轻易地给清白的公司招致极其麻烦的调查。

America's Department of Justice sees no need for such safeguards. And since few cases go to trial, judges have given little guidance as to what the FCPA's bewildering text actually means. So, for now, it means whatever an aggressive prosecutor says it does.
美国司法部不觉得需要这样的保护措施。而且由于极少的情况闹上法庭,法官们也没解释清楚关于《反海外腐败法》那些令人困惑的表述的确切含义。所以现在情况就是这样,检察官说那是什么意思就是什么意思,哪怕这位检察官的观点很激进。



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