A major New York bank pays $14.8 million to the SEC to settle allegations of corruption for handing out internships to relatives of foreign oﬃcials. An infant formula manufacturer agrees to pay $12 million after its Chinese subsidiary made improper payments to inﬂuence healthcare professionals to recommend its product.
A major tire and rubber company coughs up $16 million to settle SEC charges that its subsidiaries bribed oﬃcials in Kenya and Angola.
As the above examples show, doing business globally demands a special astuteness. As cultural and political climates vary from country to country, so does the potential for making false steps. Even innocent actions can be dangerous without experience and a well--formed knowledge of foreign laws, customs, and best practices.
As does every subsidiary of Atlas® World Group, Inc., Atlas® International considers compliance with the law to be of prime importance. Accordingly, it maintains a proactive eﬀort to prevent, detect, and deter criminal actions in the conduct of its business. The eﬀort takes special attention, since Atlas International operates in countries all over the world.
“We are committed to doing business ethically and legally throughout the world,” says Laura Hatton, Vice President of International Operations. “We support our commitment with standards and controls, ongoing training and communication, and periodic risk assessments.”
Employee training emphasizes sensitivity to both foreign laws and U.S. laws that apply to foreign operations. When uncertain about a situation, employees consult Atlas World Group’s Legal Department for advice on how to proceed. Compliance is job one.
The Stakes Are Big
The World Bank estimates that more than $1 trillion in bribes will exchange hands this year. In its most recent calculation (2013), The World Economic Forum pegs the economic cost of corruption worldwide to be 5 percent of GDP, or roughly $2.6 trillion. For those caught in such misconduct, the ﬁnes can be hefty–and the attention can undermine a company’s name and standing.
“Every employee in our organization is accountable for compliance,” says Laura. “Our standards also apply to our suppliers and service partners. Each must agree and sign oﬀ on them as a condition of working with us. Our commitment to integrity, honesty and transparency extends to every entity and every aspect of our business.”
Atlas International follows the best practices outlined by the Organizational Guidelines of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, namely seven key criteria for an eﬀective compliance program. The company also conforms to the FCPA, a bribery law with worldwide reach. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 makes it unlawful to give money or provide “anything of value” to foreign oﬃcials in an attempt to acquire or retain business. Atlas also complies with the local anti-corruption laws in all countries where it does business.