FCPA Compliance and Ethics Blog

January 23, 2015

From NH to Hollywood and Compliance Lessons from the Twins-interview with Jay Rosen

Jay Rosen

  1. Where did you grow up? What was it like in NH?

I grew up in Manchester, NH which the largest “city” in Southern New Hampshire with 100,000 residents.  We are effectively a bedroom community of Boston, which informs my fervent support of all things Boston: baked beans and Red Sox included as well as all things New England: clam chowda and Patriots!

In high school, I decided I wanted to see free movies and get free records (now I am dating myself).  Thus I became the newspaper’s resident movie and music critic.  

  1. Where did you go to college, what did you study and why did you leave the family business?

I had had enough frozen mornings in New Hampshire, so I thought I would make my way south to The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philly. There something happened along the way….  My roommate John Chadwick saw a flyer for UTV (University Television), the on-campus student TV station.  He dialed up the number and shoved the phone in front of me – I stumbled and mumbled and said, “I would like to work at the station…”  

  1. What took you to LA? Describe your job progression.

After rising from production assistant (“PA”) to Station Manager three years later, I decided this entertainment thing was pretty cool. This led to Hollywood where I got my start working in the mail room at Triad Artists. In less than 6 months, I was being promoted to be an assistant on a Literary Agent’s desk. Literary agents represent .writers and directors, while talent agents represent actors.   Right before my promotion, I received a call one morning at 6:00 AM. My new boss had accepted a job at a competing agency and asked if I wanted to join him.

First ethical lesson.  I called my Dad and asked him whether I should go.  He said that Triad had invested time and resources in me and suggested I stay.  Then I called my Uncle Charles, who worked for Ogilvy & Mather.  Charles said, “Pack your bags.”  So I went to work that day waiting for my new boss to submit his resignation.  Only problem was there was no one for him to quit to.  Before I knew it, it was 2PM and still no call.  Finally he calls.  In less than four hours, I train my replacement, pack a banker’s box with my belongings and am escorted out of the office by a security officer.  Welcome to the corporate world!

I continued on with the new agency and found my way to 20th Century Fox where I had a wonderful mentor, Kimberly Cooper, who knew that I ultimately wanted to produce and write screenplays. This led to my brief career as a screenwriter where my writing partner and I got paid to write, rewrite and then paid not to write at all.  During our creative partnership we wrote 10 screenplays, but unfortunately we were never able to get our projects on the big screen.  My last fling with Hollywood was working as the assistant to the executive producer on “The Perfect Storm,” the film based on the novel by Sebastian Junger, directed by Wolfgang Peterson and starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg (Yes Rebecca, I purposely name-checked all these peeps just for you). 

So I joined a middle market investment bank in Los Angeles which was started by former Houlihan Lokey and Merrill Lynch investment bankers.  As this was a startup, in addition to my business development duties, I also received a crash course on investment banking.  I helped the firm close transactions in the Consulting, Healthcare, Health Clubs, Restaurants and Recreation and eDiscovery sectors.  All was going well until the fall of 2008.  With the market crashing, and 8 month old twin daughters, now was not a good time to get downsized…. or was it?    

  1. How did these jobs lead you to translation services?

Life has a funny way of teaching you the skills and preparing you for the next steps in your career.  Even though you may have little to no awareness that this is happening at the moment.  As I needed to find my next gig, I reached out to my virtual network on LinkedIn.  One of my vendors at the investment bank saw that I had an entertainment background.  He and his firm wanted to use a virtual data room (VDR) as a green technology solution to securely share screenplay assets in a studio environment. When I started at the office, I learned that this company made the bulk of their revenue from selling translations.  I soon began to absorb the legal translation sale process from my office mate.  I next became involved with an end-to-end foreign language eDiscovery solutions called PEARL.  One of the partners said that PEARL should be used for every FCPA matter.   I rushed home.  Googled “FCPA” and decided that the Fairfax County (home of my wonderful in-laws) Park Association was not the FCPA I was looking for… and then, two entries down the angels sang and I was bathed in the most incredible golden light.  I had discovered the four most beautiful letters in the alphabet FCPA, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  

  1. How has your view of translation services evolved from a reactive product to a preventative tool?

For me, it was quite intuitive.  I posited that most FCPA matters, whether they were investigations, monitorships or preventative mandates would require some form of translations as these matters are global in nature. While Merrill has had the fortune to work on some major “above the fold” multinational FCPA investigations, transnational litigation and global IP litigation matters, I felt that there must be more we can do from a proactive perspective.  Our clients began to ask us whether or not we could assist them with localizing their Code of Conduct as well as other global companywide communications.

I began to focus on a second front of not only helping our clients increase efficiency and save costs on their investigations, but I also began collaborating with my Merrill colleagues to reach out to our clients and educate them on the benefits or proactively using translations as an insurance policy to inoculate and insulate the Company’s anti-bribery and anti-corruption exposure with qualified, outsourced, independent translation solutions.  Although many companies try to leverage existing internal translation solutions – such as foreign language fluent assistants, overseas associates or other on-the-ground personnel (forensic analysts and document reviewers), they fail to understand the risk they incur by using non-trained, translations resources who are not able to attest to and certify the accuracy of their translation work product.  Beside incurring any internal and opportunity costs by avoiding professional translation resources, they potentially expose themselves to a greater risk. 

  1. You have written many ethics lessons you have learned from your daughters? Can you describe their similarities and differences AND what parts of you or Rebecca are in each.

Michaela and Millie were born 10 weeks premature on Sunday, February 3, 2008.  The date of the Patriots first Super Bowl loss to the New York (Football) Giants.  Michaela came out first and then it seemed like an eternity (4 minutes) until Millie was untangled from both umbilical cords and finally emerged.  They went through a 41-day stay in the NICU and miraculously were discharged on the same day! Michaela, being the oldest, quite often takes the lead and asks for and usually gets whatever she wants.  She is the plotter of the crimes and Millie executes.  Millie is definitely a people pleaser and wants to make sure that not only her older sister, but her mom and dad are happy and content.

Millie is often concerned with fairness and this is something that she definitely gets from Rebecca.  Michaela is more of the comedienne and quite often acts goofy, which is a reflection of me.  Depending on who you ask and what day it is, people say Millie has my pudgy Rosen cheeks and Michaela has Rebecca’s fair complexion and straight hair.  All I know is that Rebecca and I are so fortunate that we had the help of our doctors to conceive and bring these two wonderful girls into the world.

Jay Rosen can be reached at jay.rosen@merrillcorp.com.

The other day we were walking in our second home, the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland and Millie was casually strolling with her arm loosely draped over her sister’s back.  I looked a Rebecca and she said, “Either we are doing something right or those two girls just love each other”.  We both look forward to learning more lessons from them as the days and years go by.

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2015

September 3, 2014

Language as a Long Term Compliance Strategy

LangaugeI constantly rely on Jay Rosen and his team at Merrill Brink for translation and other language related services in the compliance portion of my work. (Yes I do practice law and compliance for a living; I blog for gratis.) For not only am I required to help evaluate documents in a foreign language which need to translated into English but often I need a foreign language version of compliance related documents that I create, from third party questionnaires to contracts to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) training materials. While I still tend to think of language as a tactical issue, Jay has long striven to have me see it as part of a businesses overall strategy.

I think I may have finally seen the light that Jay has been preaching to me over the past few years when I read an article in the September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR), entitled “What’s Your Language Strategy?” by Tsedal Neely and Robert Steven Kaplan. The authors posit that language should bind not only your company’s global talent pool but also your company’s vision. After concluding the article, I now understand how language is a strategy to help inform your compliance program as well. This is because just as “Language pervades every aspect of organizational life” the authors believe that companies “often pay too little attention to it in their approach to talent management.” I would add that is also true in the compliance function.

The authors believe that problems revolve around potential “blind spots regarding language.” They write that company leaders pay too little attention to the role of language when “hiring, training, assessing and promoting employees. This can lead to miscommunication and friction, especially among team members who collaborate across borders.” While the authors point that a company’s competitiveness that may suffer, I would suggest that a company’s compliance function could also suffer. The authors believe that a company should align its language strategy with its overarching priorities. Further, by building “language skills and cultural awareness throughout your organization in order to acquire and develop the kind of talent you need to compete globally and locally.” The authors believe that by paying attention to this issue, your company can potentially turn “vulnerability into a competitive strength.”

The authors identify five key points which a company should evaluate regarding language. I would also add they relate directly to any international company’s anti-corruption compliance function whether under the FCPA; UK Bribery Act or other anti-bribery regime.

Hiring and Training

Here companies need to understand how candidates might come across in the interview or other pre-employment evaluation process. While a candidate with multiple language fluency may overshadow deficits in other critical areas, it may also be a problem because as an evaluator, “you may need to accept some limitations on language capabilities and be prepared to provide training to meet both global and local language needs.” But even if you get pass this first hurdle the authors identify a follow up problem in this area; that is, after hiring and/or promotion. They state, “Another blind spot is a tendency to over rely on external lateral hires with a certain degree of language skill to fill midlevel roles rather than hiring and grooming outstanding junior candidates with the capacity and motivation to learn new languages. While the latter approach may initially take more time, companies often find that entry-level hires ultimately become their best leaders, because they have been trained from an early stage in company culture and practices. Defaulting to lateral hires can make it more difficult to build a cohesive culture—those recruits have been trained elsewhere and may have trouble assimilating.”

Evaluating Talent Accurately

Even if your company does improve its entry level hiring practices and provide training to assist new employees in their language skills, you still need to make accurate performance evaluations. Here companies may get into trouble because “Language agility does not necessarily spell high performance.” The authors point to the need for a robust process to assess skills and attributes which allows a company to “look beyond verbal agility when gauging performance. It’s a reality check, a way to make sure that you and other leaders are not unduly swayed by fluency.”

Rethinking the Role of Expatriates

One of the key areas in the compliance field is to develop local compliance talent and expertise. This is not only because “expatriates may not be familiar with the local language, culture, and business practices, they can bring knowledge of organizational culture along with an understanding of the company’s products, processes, and systems.” One of the roles of any compliance manager, particularly an ex-pat is “to focus on developing local talent and ensuring that indigenous professionals begin to play leadership roles in the local businesses.” Equally important is to “think about the people you’re choosing to send abroad. To build a strong team of local leaders, it’s critical to give expatriate assignments to your best people—not just to solid contributors who happen to have the right language skills and are more easily dispensed with at home. Otherwise, you may find that your firm’s global offices fail to attract, develop, and retain the strong indigenous talent they need for high performance.”

Managing Communications on a Global Team

Most of the company’s I have worked at hold all their communications in English-language on a company wide basis. Of course I thought this was great. But the authors note that “managers often unwittingly position native speakers of a lingua franca as “winners” within the firm; consequently, nonnative speakers experience a substantial loss of power and status. If companies don’t take such issues into account, they can cause otherwise talented and engaged professionals to underperform and even withdraw.”

The authors believe that managers need to understand which of their employees are comfortable with the second-language proficiency and those who may not be so comfortable. They provide specific guidance as follows, “Global managers must deal directly with such issues to promote productive global cooperation. They must be sensitive to how employees of varying language proficiency are interacting. The goal is to make it easier for native and nonnative speakers to establish trust and communicate effectively. Managers’ observations should include the following: Who attends meetings? Who speaks up? Are the best employees contributing, or is language getting in the way? It’s then important to facilitate meetings and calls so that nonnative and native speakers get equal airtime. Often this means coaching primary-language people to speak less and second-language people to speak more. It also involves setting clear agendas up front, considering the mode of communication, and thinking through meeting choreography in advance.”

Building Cultural Awareness

The authors conclude by reminding us that language fluency does not always equate to cultural fluency, as “too often leaders underperform because they fail to adapt their management styles and practices to fit a multicultural environment. For them, understanding the cultural background of each team member, the role of the company, its products and services, and the customers it serves within various cultural and regional contexts is as essential as learning to conjugate new verbs.” They believe that “Managers should be held accountable that language and cultural skills are developed throughout their organization.”

The authors’ piece is chock full of ideas, insights and issues for a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) or compliance practitioner. Any company doing business internationally is going to have the issues that the authors discuss in their article. The compliance function has all of these issues in spades because if you need to consider the FCPA, it is because you are doing business internationally.

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2014

August 18, 2014

How Can Global Corporations Afford (or Afford Not) To Employ Professional Language Solution Providers

Jay RosenEd Note-I recently asked Jay Rosen, Vice President, Language Solutions at Merrill Brink International, if he could help me understand how to think through the the hiring of a language service provider. He graciously wrote the following post.

It seems like a daily occurrence that news organizations and blogs (this one included) report that global corporation XYZ, Inc. has run afoul of FCPA statutes somewhere in the world. The next few paragraphs will recount the jurisdiction where the alleged infraction has occurred and if known at this juncture, the details of the bribery scheme. At this point, if you are well read on this subject, the rest of the article plays out by rote.

Let’s hit the pause button and rewind this story to the beginning. How did XYZ, Inc. get into this position and what steps could have been taken to better communicate the Company’s ethics and compliance policies and procedures to its global employee base? While this would certainly not prevent a rogue employee(s) from committing these alleged infractions, professionally translated and localized ethics and compliance communications provide a proactive solution to insulate global companies from similar situations.

The question of whether or not to engage a professional Language Solutions Provider (LSP), read translation company, usually is driven by the following factors:

  • Cost/Quality
  • Confidentially
  • Change
  1. If I can afford an LSP, how do I choose among the ones out there for quality?

The first thing to cover here is how are translations priced?

Translations are completed on an outsourced basis by professionally educated, qualified, and selected linguistic resources. It is important to note that the industry standard is to bill on a per word basis (e.g. X number of words at Y cents per word). This pricing model will become glaringly apparent when Corporations look at alternative methods to translate documents in-house with an eye to saving money.

Proposed Internal Translation Solutions

Here are several ideas that are usually considered in lieu of engaging professional translation resources:

  • Becky down the hall speaks French
  • We can use someone in our Paris Office
  • The Forensic accountant working with us in Beijing

On first blush the three suggestions above all seem like good ideas that will potentially save money and lead to quality results. Unfortunately these three courses of action fall short by:

  • Not providing the necessary quality ensured by professional translation resources
  • End up costing the client both opportunity costs and greater total translation costs and
  • Do nothing to mitigate the risk of not having an independent outsourced LSP translating (and certifying) your documents (if necessary).

Becky down the hall speaks French

Although Becky does speak French, she has other duties in the organization that must be put aside for her to work on translating documents. Should this project take 3 – 4 hours and if Becky has a bill rate of $400/hour, this solution ends up wasting precious time and costing the end client ~ $1,600 instead of the a few hundred dollars to professionally produce an accurate translation.

We can use someone in our Paris office

As in the example above, this option also creates lost opportunity cost and further taxes billable resources in another time zone. This would require the company to utilize internal resources and having to deal with colleagues not under their direct local control and working in various global markets.

The forensic accountant working with us in Beijing

In this case, we have someone working far out of their core expertise and comfort zone – forensics – and having to wear the hat of a professional translator. Price also comes into play as these forensic resources start billing around $250/hour and could be higher.

Bottom line, what initially appears to be a viable and cost effective solution, ends up sacrificing quality, escalating costs and potentially increasing risk by internally generating substandard translations.

  1. If I use an LSP, how do I ensure confidentiality of the information contained in my documents? 

Confidentiality, especially in the FCPA arena, is a valid concern and must be considered when engaging a qualified LSP. Professional LSPs will require their linguists to sign a Confidentiality or Non-Disclosure Agreement. This agreement will be on file with the LSP and a copy of the agreement can easily be shared.

In terms of global data privacy restrictions, it is good to discuss this in advance with the LSP and depending on what jurisdiction your matter is based in, evaluate the LSP’s experience and comfort level in handling data privacy concerns.

In terms of looking at the individual linguists, a professional LSP will hire translators with the following credentials:

  • Minimum 4 year college degree
  • Subject Matter Expertise (SME)
  • Additional testing by the LSP

These three areas serve to validate the choice of an independent LSP as the translators employed will meet the minimum of a 4 year degree and quite often will have post-graduate or professional degrees such as JD’s or PhD’s. Furthermore, LSPs can provide Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) with specific sector knowledge such as IP/patents, cross-border litigation or FCPA, ethics and compliance experience. Finally the additional testing required by LSPs ensures that clients are receiving top-notch and best of breed translation solutions.

  1. How do I risk disrupting the status quo to change my current translation/localization workflow?

So far we have covered two out of three issues to consider in the choice of whether or not to engage an outsourced LSP.

  • Cost/Quality
  • Confidentiality

And finally we will look at another “C” – Change. While this may not initially be perceived as an important factor, this often affects whether an organization decides to employ an outsourced LSP. From a global perspective it is imperative that a Code of Business Conduct and a Company’s policies and procedures are accurately translated from the English source document to the multiple localized versions for global employees.

If in the past this decision has been left to local in-country resources, it may have unintentionally altered or subverted the meaning of the source English language policies and could have potentially created confusion as to the meaning and global reach of a Company’s business policies.

Additional pushback may emanate from current in-country LSPs who have provided these services in the past.   While it makes sense to encourage local buy-in to your Company’s policies and procedures, this can be ensured by asking local ethics and compliance leaders to participate in the translation review process.

By carefully considering cost/quality, confidentiality and change, a global organization can properly assess the impact that hiring a qualified LSP will have on their risk exposure and better position such organizations to quickly react to a changing global investigative and regulatory environment.

Jay Rosen (jay.rosen@merrillcorp.com) is a Vice President, Language Solutions at Merrill Brink International, based in Los Angeles. For further information, please see his article on Translation considerations for global internal investigations, ethics and compliance matters.

October 18, 2013

Ethics, Compliance and School Drop-Off Etiquette

Ed. Note-today we have a guest post from Jay Rosen, Vice President, Language Solutions at Merrill Brink International. He shares with us how he stopped worrying about early morning road rage and learned to embrace his fellow compliant (and noncompliant) parents.

I recently returned from the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics 13th annual Compliance and Ethics Institute (CEI) in Washington, DC.  I would like to thank CEI Co-chairs Dan Roach and Odell Guyton, as well as SCCE CEO Roy Snell and his entire team for running and executing one of the premier ethics and compliance conferences in the world.

Last fall, I attended my first SCCE event — the 12th annual CEI.   Over the past year I have been moved by the passion, commitment and generosity of the SCCE and Compliance and Ethics community.  I have developed great virtual and over- the-phone friendships and it is an added bonus to meet in person with colleagues from all over the world and across the country.  I am already looking forward to the 14th CEI which will be held in Chicago from September 14 – 17th, 2014.

With much joy, I was settling back into my routine and taking my five year old twin daughters to kindergarten.  While I was away, one of the parents sent an email to the entire kindergarten class parents list serve which shared the following…

Exhibit 1

 “To the dear parent (mom) who drives a black Cadillac Escalade, when you get to school’s gate in the morning and realize other parents are waiting in front of the gate, please do not go to the other side of the street and make a left turn in front of everyone else who is waiting there before you. I am sure everyone else’s time is as valuable as yours. Thank you for your cooperation.

From: another mom who was waiting outside for ten minutes

Exhibit 2

Dear Mom who was Waiting Outside for Ten Minutes,

Thank you for posting!  Let’s provide a safe learning environment for our children and lead by our positive actions.
Exhibit 3

Dear Jay 

Thank you very much for your support. After two angry e mails from two parents about why I used their e mail to send them this posting, yours is very supporting. I hope at least this posting will help others realize what they do is wrong.

As this is a new experience for kindergartners, going to class with the “BIG” kids, being dropped off by Mommy or Daddy (mostly DaddyJ), the school has made special provisions for parents to drop their children off in front of the kindergarten class between 7:45 – 8:00 AM.  While this is a courtesy for the parents, it is most importantly intended to provide a safe introduction for kids into their new daily school routine.

If a parent arrives before 7:45 AM, they are supposed to simply pull to the curb and wait until the gate opens precisely at 7:45.  Over a five minute span, anywhere between 2 and 7 vehicles will get in line.  Without fail, there are two things that can happen –

  • One parent (usually driving a black SUV, this is LA after all), decides to cut the line, zoom up to the front and power through just as the gates are opening.  Either a case of too many Vente drips this morning, or maybe having recently completed watching all 7 episodes of The Fast and the Furious or
  • Another inventive parent, comes from the other side of the street and executes an illegal U-turn into three lanes of on-coming morning school/rush hour traffic

I have twin 5.5 year old daughters (who many of you know about and have been forced to see all of their pictures… especially “Sassy Girls Going to Disneyland”)and one of them is always concerned with the concept of being “Fair”.  So let’s look at this situation through the lens of being Fair and Safe.

This rule was designed with having our children’s safety in mind.  Let’s create a safe way, to help our children transition into loving their education and at the same time, create a convenient way for parents to drop off their kids.  So far, so good.  Sounds like a good idea.  Right

When one parent begins to feel that his or her time is more “Valuable” than another’s that is where the problems begin.  Hmmm… let’s see if we can paint this dilemma in a business context.  Perhaps there is an industry or global standard designed to ensure workplace safety, clean production of milk powder or even provide a level playing field for conducting global business and winning sales contracts.  Once one parent or Company feels that they are above the rest, we start down a slippery slope.

This hits at the crux of why people and companies should act in an ethical way.  Should we follow rules, laws and industry standards because it is the right thing to do, or should we follow these rules because they have been designed to safeguard certain situations?

Being the recovering screen writer that I am, the vision of Tom Hulce from Animal House pops into my head with a devil and angel hovering over his shoulders.

Obviously, in my potential Pre-School Road Rage Drop-off Scenario, there is only one acceptable way of behaving and it is precisely for both of these reasons.  Safely observe the drop-off to ensure our children’s safety and because it is the right thing to do.

Now when face with this decision in the business world, it should be an equally simple choice to make.  Do the right thing.  But once money, power, prestige, hitting monthly sales targets, and a slew of other factors come into play, it becomes a less clear cut and harder decision to make.

So Jay, umm, great story and all, but you said that you were going to impart something to us about Compliance and Ethics.  Yep, that’s right.  Just as Tom Hulce did in Animal House, we often have those two competitive forces within us – Right and Wrong, Good and Bad, Red Sox and Yankees… but at the end of the day, we need to make the right choice.

For most of us of us, this is an extremely hard thing to do.  But thanks to the vision of Dan Roach, Odell Guyton and the leadership of Roy Snell, over the past 13 years, the SCCE has created a kindergarten for business leaders and compliance and ethics practitioners to learn and develop the proper tools to help their colleagues make the right choices in difficult and challenging situations.

Robert Fulghum penned his famous book — All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.   And I would add, “All I Really Need to Know (about Ethics and Compliance) I Learned at the SCCE CEI.  Now if only I could find a way to deal with my morning drop-off rage.  Hey, how about cutting down on those 3 14 oz New England Patriot travel mugs of coffee each morning…

Jay Rosen is a Vice President, Language Solutions at Merrill Brink International, based in Los Angeles, where he advises businesses and law firms on translation solutions for FCPA, Ethics, Compliance, Code of Conduct and eLearning. He can be reached via email at jay.rosen@merrillcorp.com and via phone at 310-729-6746.

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This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. 

December 30, 2012

The Lilly FCPA Enforcement Action Part I – Key Lessons Learned on Sportsmanlike Conduct

Patriots PictureAs you see from today’s picture I am enthusiastically wearing a New England Patriots (classic) shirt. You may ask yourself why am I wearing this shirt? The reason is because of a rather rash wager I made with Jay Rosen, Vice President of Merrill Brink, earlier this month on the Patriots/Texans football game. (I also made the same wager with Matt Kelly, Editor of Compliance Week, who says he will use the photo for marketing Compliance Week 2013, good luck with that!) I can’t quite seem to remember the final score but I do recall that it was what we in Texas might call a full ‘butt-whoopin’. Up until that game, the Patriots were 19-1 at home in the month of December over the past ten years, after beating the Texans, they became 20-1. The key lesson I learned from this experience is to evaluate your risk and then manage that risk accordingly.

Earlier this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the settlement of the Eli Lilly and Company’s (Lilly) violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The enforcement action details a number of bribery schemes that Lilly had engaged in for many years in multiple countries. Indeed Lilly used four different styles of bribery schemes in four separate countries; all of which violated the FCPA. In China, corrupt payments were falsely called reimbursement of expenses; in Brazil, money that was characterized as a discount for distributor was used to pay a bribe; in Poland, charitable donations were falsely labeled and used to induce a Polish government official to approve the purchase of Lilly products; and, finally, Lilly’s subsidiary in Russia, paid bribes to Offshore Agents who were domiciled outside Russia and who performed no services for which they were compensated.

I think the most noteworthy information found in this enforcement action is that it provides significant guidance to the compliance practitioner on not only the different types of bribery schemes used, but more importantly, by reading into the types of conduct the DOJ and SEC finds violates the FCPA, it is valuable as a lesson on how to structure tools to manage FCPA risks going forward. In this post I will detail the bribery schemes that Lilly engaged in and in Part II, I will discuss how the Lilly enforcement action should inform your FCPA compliance program.

I.                   China – Use of False Expense Reports to Cover Improper Gifts and Cash Payments

In China, Lilly employees used the classic system of submitting inflated expense reports and using the excess reimbursements to pay bribes. More ominously, not only did the sales representatives engage in this tactic but their supervisors did and also instructed subordinates to do so as well. The list of gifts that were provided to Chinese government officials was as wide ranging as it was creative. There were gifts consisting of specialty foods, wines and a jade bracelet. There were paid trips to bath houses, karaoke bars and spas. There was money paid to purchase “door prizes and publication fees to government employed physicians.” It was even noted that bribes were paid consisting of cigarettes. In the SEC complaint it stated that “Although the dollar amount of each gift was generally small, the improper payments were wide-spread across the [China] subsidiary.”

II.                Brazil – Use of Distributor Discounts to Fund Bribes

In Brazil, Lilly sold drugs to distributors who then resold the products to both public and private entities. It was the classic distributor model where Lilly sold the drugs to the distributors at a discount and then the distributors would resell the products “at a higher price and then took their discount as compensation.” There was a fairly standard discount given to the distributors which generally ranged “between 6.5% and 15%, with the majority of distributors in Brazil receiving a 10% discount.”

However in early 2007, at the request of a Lilly sales manager, the company awarded an unusually high discount of between 17% and 19% to a distributor for the sale of a Lilly drug to the government of one of the states of Brazil. The distributor used approximately 6% of this additional discount to create a fund to pay Brazilian government representatives to purchase the Lilly drugs from him. Further, the Lilly sales manager who requested this unusual discount was aware of the bribery scheme. Moreover, this increase in the discount was approved by the company with no further inquiry as to the reason for the request or to substantiate the basis for such an unusually high discount. If there were any internal controls they were not followed.

III.             Poland – Use of Charitable Donations to Obtain Sales of Drugs

In Poland we see our old friend the Chudow Castle Foundation (Foundation). You may remember this charity as it was the subject of a prior SEC enforcement action involving Schering-Plough Corporation. The thing that got both Lilly and Schering-Plough into trouble was that the Foundation was controlled by the Director of the Silesian Health Fund (Director) and with this position he was able to exercise “considerable influence over the pharmaceutical products local hospitals and other health care providers in the region purchased.”

Just how did this bribery scheme camouflaged as a charitable donation work? Initially it started while Lilly was in negotiations with the Director for the purchase of one of Lilly’s cancer drugs for public hospitals and other health care providers in the region. The Director actually made a request for a donation directly to representatives of Lilly. Thereafter, the Foundation itself made “subsequent requests” for donations.

In addition to this obvious red flag, Lilly did no due diligence on the Foundation and falsely described the nature of the payments not once but three separate times with three separate descriptions. Lilly turned some of the monies over not to the Foundation, but to the Director for use at his “discretion”. Interestingly, the donations were not only made at or near the time of a contract execution, with one donation being made two days after the Director authorized the purchase of the drugs from Lilly.  Internally Lilly even discussed the size of a donation, calling it a “rebate” and said “it will depend on the purchases of medicines.”

IV.              Russia – Use of Offshore Agents Who Performed No Services

As with Brazil, Lilly used a distributor sales model in Russia. However, there was a further twist which got Lilly into FCPA hot water. Lilly would enter into an agreement with a third party other than the distributor who was selected by the government official making decisions on the purchase of Lilly products. The other third parties were usually not domiciled in Russia, nor did they have bank accounts in Russia. In other words, they were Offshore Agents who were paid a flat fee or percentage of the total sales with no discernible work or services performed.

There was little to no due diligence performed on these Offshore Agents. In one instance, detailed in the SEC Complaint, Lilly ran a Dun and Bradstreet report on a third party agent, coupled with an internet search on a third party domiciled in Cyprus. There was no determination of the beneficial ownership of this Offshore Agent nor was there any determination of the business services which this Offshore Agent would provide, subsequently this . This Offshore Agent was paid approximately $3.8MM. An additional  Offshore Agent, again in Cyprus, which Lilly conducted little to no due diligence on, received a $5.2MM commission. Under another such agreement, yet another Cypriot Offshore Agent received a commission rate of 30% of the total sale.

What about the services that these Offshore Agents provided to Lilly? First and foremost, they all had their own special “Marketing Agreement” which was actually a template contract prepared by Lilly. The services allegedly provided by these Offshore Agents included “immediate customs clearance” or “immediate delivery” of the product. There were other equally broad and vague descriptions such as “promotion of the products” and “marketing research”. But not only was there little if no actual evidence that these Offshore Agents provided such services; Lilly, or its regular in-country distributors, actually performed these services.

Unlike their experience in Poland, officials from Lilly simply inquired directly from government officials with whom it was negotiating if it could “donate or otherwise support various initiatives that were affiliated with public or private institutions headed by the government officials or otherwise important to the government officials.” As noted in the SEC Complaint, Lilly had neither the internal controls in place nor performed any vetting to determine whether it “was offering something of value to a government official for the purpose of influencing or inducing him or her to assist Lilly-Vostok in obtaining or retaining business.”

In my next post I will discuss how the compliance practitioner can use the information and facts presented in the Lilly enforcement action as teaching points to evaluate and enhance a company’s compliance program.

Although I rarely agree with Peggy Noone, I always read her Saturday column in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and would like to end my blogging year with the closing paragraph, which I quote in full, from her article entitled “About Those 2012 Political Predictions”:

Lesson? For writers it’s always the same. Do your best, call it as you see it, keep the past in mind but keep your eyes open for the new things of the future. And say what you’re saying with as much verve as you can. Life shouldn’t be tepid and dull. It’s interesting—try to reflect the aliveness in your work. If you’re right about something, good. If you’re wrong, try to see what you misjudged and figure out why. And, always, “Wait ’til next year.”

A safe and Happy New Year to all.

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2012

December 7, 2012

How the Noir Novel Informs Your Compliance Program

In the Work Matters column in the December 3 Issue of the Texas Lawyer, in an article entitled, “Ten Phrases Lawyers Hear That Portend Disaster” author Michael Maslanka explored his love of noir fiction, which I share, through listed 10 phases that show the “it” so famous in noir novels is coming. The ten warning signs that he listed are as follows:

1. “Isn’t it obvious?” I hear this from managers when a company refuses to hire a disabled applicant, as in, “Isn’t it obvious that a man with one arm can’t do this job?” The manager unwisely forecloses the inquiry required by the Americans With Disabilities Act: An employer must determine if the employee can perform the essential functions of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation.

Another example is when a supervisor says, “Isn’t it obvious that we don’t want to hire a convicted felon for this job?” That person unwisely ignores the EEOC’s new emphasis that automatic exclusion of an applicant with a criminal record may be a proxy for race discrimination.

2. “This is a no-lose case with a guaranteed two-comma verdict.” Listen to this quotation from Proverbs 28:20: “[H]e that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.” Isn’t that the truth?

From the fictional Gordon Gekko to the all-too-real Bernie Madoff, those who greedily grasp after riches may be slow to reveal their lack of integrity. They show their true character only under careful attention and scrutiny. The best antidote: Be a person of character. As W.C. Fields wisely remarked, “You can’t cheat an honest man.”

3. “We must decide today!” Here is the greatest enemy of an integrity-based decision: time pressure. “Fire the employee now!” “We have to get this order of widgets out by 5 p.m. — no ifs, ands or buts.”

To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, decisions made under unnecessary time pressures usually are “swift, sure, and wrong.” When under pressure to do something “now,” the wise attorney should ask the client, “If we had 10 times as much time to make this decision, would it be the same decision?”

4. “That’s the other side’s problem.” I hear this from time to time, and I bet many lawyers do. These two statements always are cause to take a timeout:

• “That’s not our problem; it’s the other side’s problem”

• “Let them worry about that.”

When people start saying things like that, ask whether they’re doing so because the statements are true or because the underlying issue involves unpleasant facts that it’s easier not to acknowledge. Recall Ben Franklin’s wise advice: “Half a truth is often a great lie.”

Litigators and deal makers hear phrases like these. Events are percolating along, and someone on the team asks, “Should we be doing this?” or “Does the other party know about this issue?” When the question answers itself, it’s time for the lawyer to ask whether truth or convenience is driving the client’s position. Convenience never trumps ethics.

5 “Everybody else is doing it.” Here is just some of what I have heard in 31 years of practicing law:

• “Companies in my industry don’t pay overtime, so why should I?”

• “The guy with the company down the road fired the union organizer among the employees, and nothing happened to him.”

• “Don’t tell me what I can’t do; I’m paying you for telling me what I can do.”

Those who win the race to the bottom still lose. Stephen Cope, in his book “The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling” explains that “The Bhagavad Gita” teaches that it is better to follow one’s true dharma and fail than to follow others’ false dharma and succeed monetarily. And, let’s face it: The truth comes out in the end.

6. “We can’t change course now. We have too much invested.” This is false-dichotomy territory. How can a lawyer break through this either/or mindset? Mary C. Gentile offers advice in her book, “Giving Voice to Values: How to Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right.” She suggests changing the frame. Reject “We did not get what we wanted.” Embrace “What did we learn from this experience?”

Failing to do so conjures up, for me, lines from W. H. Auden’s “The Age of Anxiety”: “We would rather be ruined than changed/We would rather die in our dread/than climb the cross of the moment/and let our illusions die.” Change course. It’s the smart play.

7. Another pair of eyes on the project? You’re joking, right? What a waste.” True, projects are overlawyered and overanalyzed. But active resistance to advice is a telling sign that something maybe seriously amiss. Take it as a warning to press all the more for that other set of eyes.

An ostrich-like attitude of self-delusion can lead to disaster. Listen to Proverbs 1:30-31: “They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.”

8. “We’ve always thought about it this way, and we always will.” I can do no better than Justice Felix Frankfurter, who decided a legal issue one way in 1943 and then completely reversed course in 1949. He gave this explanation in his opinion in Henslee v. Union Planters Bank: “Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.” Genius.

9. It is what it is.” Huh? This phrase now is used principally by those who want to sound insightful and wise but who are just dazed and confused. Only Buddhist monks are allowed to talk like Buddhist monks.

10. You are the most wonderful person I have ever met. We were meant to start this business/do this deal/win this suit.” Beware flattery without facts, especially when it comes too fast, too soon. It is a sign of a sociopath. They target their victims (people they can use), compromise their targets’ integrity, exploit them and toss them aside when finished. The whole cycle starts with false flattery.

These also have application for the compliance practitioner. If you hear a third party mention any of these, either in the due diligence process or in your relationship going forward, you need to drop what you are doing and begin an investigation. If you hear anyone in your company utter these, move post-haste as well. But most of all, these phrases should remind you just how great this classic American fiction is and how you can use it to inform your compliance program.

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For those of you unaware, the Houston Texans will play the New England Patriots in Foxboro this weekend. I have friendly wagers with two of my favorite Patriot fans, Matt Kelly, Editor of Compliance Week and Jay Rosen, Vice President, Language Solutions Merrill Brink International. For the Compliance angle, see the piece by Matt entitled, “Sportsmanlike Conduct”. Go Texans!

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This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2012

October 29, 2012

How to Handle a Global Multi-Lingual Investigation

Ed. Note-I recently visited with my colleague (and recovering screen writer) Jay Rosen about some of the complexities involved in a global FCPA/Bribery Act investigation where one or more foreign languages is involved. Jay was kind enough to walk me through his thoughts on best practices for such a task. I was so impressed that I asked him if he could spell some of these out in a Guest Post, which he graciously agreed to do. This is his Guest Post.

Global investigation

Let’s take a look at a hypothetical multilingual investigation. Our client FIBLA, a pharmaceutical company, sells its products globally and has potential FCPA issues in France, Italy, Brazil (Portuguese) and Latin America (Spanish). They have engaged a global forensics firm to identify custodians and image hard drives as part of the initial collection effort. The audit committee has hired outside counsel to run the investigation and each organization hits the ground running. There’s only one problem: No one has contemplated how to handle the foreign language componentof this investigation.

As the first forensics team steps off the tarmac in Sao Paolo and speeds to FIBLA’s headquarters to begin collecting documents, they should be considering a key question regarding the foreign language data they will uncover:

  1. What do they need to know before they walk through that door?

The answers to this question could vary depending on one’s role in the investigation–forensics company or outside counsel. I would like to focus on the best practices for managing the foreign language portion of this type of case. Though each foreign language matter possesses its own unique set of challenges, the common denominator is: “What is the most cost effective way to match the proper translation solution with the needs of the case?

Many clients consider translation to be something they can handle in-house because:

  • “Rebecca down the hall speaks Spanish.”
  • “I’ll use Google Translate.”
  • “The associates in our Mexico City office can handle this.”
  • “The forensic accountants in Paris or the document reviewers in Ecuador can translate this information on the fly.”

In certain circumstances, all of these options have some validity, but for a mission critical investigation where accuracy and deadlines are paramount, these are not the best choices.

Language filtering solutions
Multi-lingual FCPA investigations demand a different level of sophistication and execution. Faced with a large volume of foreign language documents and pending deadlines, the team should leverage language filtering solutions that will bring order to the document chaos while reducing the time and cost involved in discovering the content of documents that are key to the investigation. In other words, separate the wheat from the chaff. These solutions, offered by most language solutions providers (LSPs), include both technology and human based translation tools.

Tool #1: Language identification
A language identification tool analyzes a document and reports the language distribution as either an absolute value (e.g., English, Italian, Mixed, or unknown) or can deliver a percentage break down (e.g., 5% French, 95% English; 10% Portuguese, 10% Italian, 80% Spanish).

On a document level, the resultant breakdown allows for granular workflows. On a case level, this knowledge determines the appropriate allocation of native speaking document reviewers needed and the most efficient and cost effective use of these resources.

Tool #2: Foreign language key words
Key words are identified by the lawyers who then have them translated to allow searching within foreign language text. Such a translation must account for the nuances inherent in another language. For example, 20 English terms can easy become 100 foreign language terms. Filtering native language documents against key foreign language terms will increase the accuracy of the review and improve the results of responsive searches. A couple hundred dollars invested here can save thousands in attorney review costs.

Tool #3: Machine translation
Machine translation provides a “gisted” understanding of large volumes of electronic documents and can allow English speakers to more easily identify those that are relevant. Thousands of pages can be translated in a fraction of the time required by traditional methods which, in turn, yield significant time and cost savings. Machine translation quality typically correlates to the quality of the source document and how well it can be read by optical character recognition (OCR). If viable, this process is 1/100th the cost of human translations.

Technology-based filtering solutions help the internal team to efficiently identify “hot” documents while eliminating those with no relevance to the investigation. This ensures that only those documents that are absolutely necessary will be submitted for human translation. For example, in a recent Turkish FCPA matter, Merrill Brink’s filtering tools reduced the number of translated documents to 3,000 out of an initial universe of 1,000,000.

By leveraging these language technology solutions once the initial data has been collected, the review team is able to reduce the amount of potentially discoverable information that bilingual reviewers need to consider. Combining an LSP’s language based technology solutions with sophisticated tools offered by most eDiscovery platforms will help to identify duplicate and forwarded emails, streamline the review process, and result in a reduction of crucial time, resources, and costs.

Here Jay slipped back into his prior life as a screen writer to explain the following:

FADE IN:

When we last saw our heroes, a crack forensics team, “Boots on the Ground,” thudded onto the tarmac in Sao Paolo, piled into waiting black SUVs with tinted glass and sped to FIBLA’s headquarters to begin collecting documents.  In a blistering high tech MONTAGE, we breathlessly see them collect, process and load the data into an eDiscovery hosting tool.  As the grunts fall back to secure the beachhead, the calvary, “Outside Counsel,” arrives in SUPER SLO-MO Quentin Tarantino blaze of slip-on loafers, broad cloth shirts and rep ties to begin a document review using contract attorneys…

FADE OUT:

Usually the law firm will perform a first- and second-level review, confirming which documents are “responsive” or “hot” and only then will they consider how to translate the documents. Some of the same ideas from Part 1(Rebecca down the hall, Google Translate, The Mexico City associates, and Forensic accounts in Paris) may be proposed as viable solutions. Again, I would caution that it is far better to engage an LSP that is well versed in the translation intricacies of these internal and external investigations.

Bilingual review and translations involve different skill sets and different costs are associated with each service. For this reason, it is best to separate the two in most cases. Industry pricing for on-site review in the U.S. varies from $70 to $110 per hour, depending on the region. In many cases, these reviewers are bilingual attorneys who are trained to identify or translate information that is pertinent to the case.

Translation is typically charged by the word and completed off-site by linguists who are trained to understand terminology and context, and to ensure the results are accurately rendered from the source to the target language. The price per word will vary by language, subject matter, turnaround time, and volume.

Although in some cases it may be deemed expedient to have the bilingual reviewers perform the translation, this will usually result in a higher cost and slower delivery. The optimal solution would be to have the reviewers identify responsive documents and feed them to the off-site translators. This way, outside counsel will have a continuous workflow that will save precious time, match resources with their respective area of expertise, and manage the company’s costs.

Human translation solutions
Most LSPs will offer at least two or three levels of human translations, each of which plays a role in the filtering process we have discussed here.

Summary translations
If machine translation has not proved feasible (due to the quality of the source documents or the language not being an option for this solution), the next choice for filtering documents would be summary translations. This often takes the form of a few sentences or perhaps some coded fields which allow for a better understanding of the content of the document. Armed with this intelligence, a decision can be made about which documents need a more complete human translation. This is also an effective way to cull large volumes of documents and identify those which require full human translation.

Basic translations
Documents are translated by a native language linguist and reviewed by a project manager. Although not as polished as a full translations, basic translations enable outside counsel to ascertain the complete content of a document. These documents are used by the investigation team for internal use.

Full translations
Full service translation starts with the basic translation process as described above, but adds a formal editing stage by a second linguist and includes a thorough quality check. Documents that have gone through a full translation processes may be certified upon request and a Certificate of Accuracy (COA) will be issued and notarized. This certification is often required for documents being presented to governmental entities such as the courts, Department of Justice, or the Securities and Exchange Commission. Both technology and human translation solutions should be utilized to reduce the amount of data that requires full translation.

By knowing this information in advance, the team speeding to FIBLA’s headquarters can concentrate on the job at hand—securing the location, collecting the data, and interviewing employees. After all the information is collected and an LSP is engaged, outside counsel can begin to leverage the above mentioned tools. Filtering processes are commenced to match appropriate translation solutions to each step of the investigation, contain the costs of human translations, and most importantly, produce the highest quality translations from professional linguists.

Jay Rosen is a Vice President, Language Solutions at Merrill Brink International, based in Los Angeles, where he advises corporations, forensic professionals and outside counsel on translation solutions for Cross-border and FCPA investigations, Compliance, Ethics, Code of Conduct and eLearning projects, M&A Due Diligence and Patent and IP matters. He can be reached via email at jay.rosen@merrillcorp.com and via phone at 310-729-6746.

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Please join Martha Duncan, CCO at Parametric Technology Corporation, Eddie Cogan, CEO of Catelas Software and myself for a webinar on Wednesday, October 31 on “How Much Risk are You On-Boarding with Each New or Acquisition?” For details and registration, click here.

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This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. 
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June 4, 2012

Best Practices for Localizing Corporate Ethics and Compliance Policies

Ed. Note-I had asked my friend Jay Rosen if he would submit a post from his perspective as VP of Merrill Brink International. I did not know the subject of his blog and so when I received it Friday afternoon after my post last Friday on “The Need to Recognize Cultural Differences When Creating a Compliance Program” I thought true serendipity had arisen. Thanks, Jay.

In the fall of 2011, Tom Fox was kind enough to invite me to post a guest blog,  “Don’t Get Lost in [FCPA] Translation”.  In that piece, I presented how language solution decisions come into play at the onset of an active internal corruption or cross-border investigation.

Today, I will look at the recommended translation and localization policy decisions that should be put in place as part of a robust ethics and compliance program, well in advance of an emergency “boots on the ground” situation.

Depending on the type of organization (manufacturing, sales, distribution, or a combination of all three) and the number of countries (and various languages) where your company conducts global business, the Company will most likely need to translate or localize some if not all of the following documents:

  • Code of Conduct
  • Anti-Bribery Policy
  • Anti-Corruption Policy
  • Third Party Due Diligence Questionnaire
  • Contracts
  • Employment Agreements
  • Leases

Ethics and legal compliance documents usually fall under the scope of corporate legal or compliance, HR, internal audit or training (eLearning) stakeholders.  In some corporations, the documents may also belong to an import/export or ITAR group.  Source material will most often be in English and require translation into a number of languages.  These services may be sourced directly by the Company or through outside counsel.

Due to the high stakes involved in mitigating FCPA investigations, it is recommended that the translation of these materials be done through a qualified Language Solutions Provider (LSP) capable of issuing a Certificate of Accuracy (COA) to confirm that the documents have been faithfully translated to impart the precise meaning of the English-based ethics and compliance policies.

Often, local stakeholders may suggest engaging “in-country” resources to translate these materials.  These resources are often bi-lingual employees whose primary role is something other than translation. While certain internal communications may be best handled by “in-country” resources, the timely translation of ethics and compliance documents is usually best accomplished when outsourced to a trusted LSP who is accountable for meeting quality standards and delivery deadlines.  “In-country” resources can be a valuable partner in reviewing translated content to ensure it meets local standards and such partnerships between outside LSP and internal resources is highly recommended.

Once the documents have been translated, the LSP should maintain a Translation Memory (“TM”) that can be leveraged to minimize the costs of future code and policy updates as well as repurposing ethics and compliance material for eLearning, HR, internal audit, and training.

Finally, engage an LSP with specific subject matter expertise in FCPA and UKBA ethics and compliance translation and localization.

By seeking out a professional and reputable legal translation solutions provider, the Company will be taking an important first step in guaranteeing the quality of its ethics and compliance translations and establishing the cornerstone of a global corporate compliance and ethics translation program.

Jay Rosen is a Vice President, Language Solutions at Merrill Brink International, based in Los Angeles, where he advises businesses and law firms on translation solutions for FCPA, Ethics, Compliance, Code of Conduct and eLearning. He can be reached via email at jay.rosen@merrillcorp.com and via phone at 310-729-6746.

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This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. 

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