International Scope Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

International Scope of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

What is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is a U.S. law that prohibits the payment of anything of value to foreign government officials in order to obtain a business advantage. The FCPA also requires publicly traded corporations to make and keep books and records that accurately reflect transactions of the corporation in order to ensure that no bribes were paid.

The U.S. Department of Justice and Securities Exchange Commission have published an excellent guide to the FCPA that is linked here.  This guide is the single best resource on the scope of the FCPA.

The law firm of Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto, LLP have also published Power Point presentations that explain the FCPA and the whistleblower provisions associated with that law.

Does the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act include a whistleblower protection provision?

Yes. In 2010, as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, whistleblowers can obtain monetary rewards for disclosing violations of anti corruption laws contained in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Does the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act extend to foreign nationals and companies?

Yes.   The U.S. government has successfully prosecuted many foreign foreign corporations under the FCPA and has issued millions of dollars in rewards to both U.S. and non-U.S. whistleblowers.  The FCPA covers all U.S. persons, all companies that trade on U.S. stock exchanges, all subsidiaries of U.S. companies, and foreign corporations that permit U.S. citizens to buy stock in their companies through a process known as “ADRs” or American Depository Receipts.

Have foreign nationals filed claims under the FCPA?

Yes. Since 2011 over 2,000 non-U.S. citizens from over 100 countries have filed confidential whistleblower reports to the SEC.  See map reprinted below.


Have foreign nationals obtained monetary rewards?

Yes. Foreign nationals have received millions of dollars in rewards for reporting under U.S. anti corruption laws.

See SEC decision awarding a foreign national an award under the FCPA.

Foreign nationals can also obtain rewards from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission if the bribery concerns violations of the laws concerning commodity trading.  The CFTC has also paid foreign nationals monetary rewards.

Does the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act allow a whistleblower to remain anonymous?

Yes, provided that a licensed attorney submits the claim on your behalf.  Filing anonymously reduces the risk of retaliation. For more information and a free consultation about whether you may qualify for a whistleblower reward under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act please fill out our online intake form.

Can I read the foreign corrupt practices act in my own language?


Visit the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act resource page to find FCPA in your language.  Translations into over 50-languages by the U.S. Department of Justice can be found on this page.

Where do I file my Whistleblower Claim?

Whistleblower claims under the FCPA are initially filed with either the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.  Information on filing under these laws can be found below: 

How to qualify for rewards as an SEC Whistleblower (FAQs)

How to qualify for Whistleblower rewards under the Commodity Exchange Act (FAQs)

How does an SEC Whistleblower file an anonymous reward claim? (FAQs)

How does a whistleblower file an anonymous reward claim with the CFTC? (FAQs)

Where can I learn more about the FCPA?

The international scope of U.S. whistleblower laws was discussed at the international Offshore Alert Conference held in November 2019 in London.

Qui tam attorney Stephen M. Kohn’s presentataion in Sarajevo, Bosnia concerning the scope of the FCPA was videotaped and can be accessed on the right side of this page.


What are the limits of this FAQ?  Is there a disclaimer concerning the information presented here?

Whistleblower laws are complex.  There are several qui tam or reward laws that can result in a whistleblower obtaining a multi-million-dollar judgment.  Each of these laws has specific filing requirements.  Additionally, there are over 50 different federal anti-retaliation laws designed to protect whistleblowers from discrimination.  Again, each of these laws has various lengths of statutes of limitation, filing procedures, and definition of a protected disclosure.

These FAQs give whistleblowers an overview of significant whistleblower qui tam, reward, or anti-retaliation laws.  They are not comprehensive.  If you believe you may have a whistleblower case, you should contact an attorney and obtain specific advice based on the facts of your case.  You cannot rely only on the information in this FAQ to determine whether or not you have a valid claim.

A critical resource for those thinking of blowing the whistle is The New Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself (Lyons Press 2017).  The Handbook contains a detailed discussion on all major whistleblower laws and has extensive citations to legal cases and statutes the protect whistleblowers.  It is an invaluable resource.

Because of the complexity of the whistleblower laws, we disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this FAQ.  The FAQ is a summary guide to understanding your rights. You should contact an attorney with expertise in whistleblowing before you make a disclosure. You must know your rights before you “blow the whistle,” so you can ensure that your conduct will be protected.

Can the whistleblower attorneys working at Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto help me?

The whistleblower law firm of Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto has a straightforward intake process.  It is available here.  Every intake is confidential, and the information provided protected under the attorney-client privilege. A senior partner at Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto reads each intake submission.

The intake process is free of charge.

Unfortunately, KKC receives many more requests for assistance then it can handle and must turn away many qualified whistleblowers.  If KKC cannot represent you, you still may have a solid case.

If KKC believes you may have a case with which it can help you, you will receive a follow-up call or email to obtain more information and determine whether or not our firm can represent you.  Until you have a signed written agreement with the firm, we are not your attorneys (although all of the information you provide to us is privileged and confidential).  Almost all of our cases are on a contingency fee basis.


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