On 7 July, Baker McKenzie published an article about a recent court decision which affirmed the convictions of 2 foreign nationals, former officials of FIFA and the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL), for conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud – which is an offence in US criminal law which has been used in cases of public corruption as well as in cases in which private individuals breached a fiduciary duty to another. It held that the use of US wire services could be sufficient in itself to confer US jurisdiction over foreign nationals in such prosecutions, even if the remainder of the fraudulent scheme took place outside of the US. The article examines the decision, and says that it means that companies and individuals doing business outside the US should be aware of the possibility of US prosecutors using the honest services wire fraud statute to prosecute foreign commercial bribery where the funds were routed through the US. Companies should ensure that their policies, procedures and trainings strictly prohibit commercial bribery – even if there is no specific local law to that effect in their jurisdiction.
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