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Why Anti-Corruption is Top 2011 Priority for General Counsels

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By Jason Beahm on December 16, 2010 5:48 AM

Anti-corruption looks to be the top priority for in house counsel in the upcoming year, according to a new study by Control Risks.

Control Risks launched its RiskMap 2011 review and forecast of business risk for the upcoming year. The review includes regional outlooks, and a rating of political and security risk in 173 countries.

So 2011 will be marked as a year of increasing national self interest, both politically and economically, as the world's emerging economies use their economic strength and resilience to project global power and influence, according to the report.

Therefore, anti-corruption efforts will be crucial, as regulators seek to prevent wrongdoing. Lawmakers throughout the world will be emboldened by new legislation, such as the UK Bribery Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

"2011 will be a dynamic year on the global stage, with significant implications for international business strategy. Businesses will need to understand and anticipate the impacts of geopolitical competition and co-operation," said Richard Fenning, Chief Executive Officer of Control Risks.

"As counsel advise senior management on compliance with these two regimes, they would be wise to "race to the top" rather than take dangerous risks aimed at straddling the line between the FCPA and the UK Bribery Act," The Huffington Post reports.

The Huffington writer noted that the UK Ministry of Justice recently released "Consultation on Guidance About Commercial Organization Preventing Bribery" designed to help businesses with bribery prevention.

It's certainly something you should take a look at as a general counsel.

So what is a key piece of advice that you can take away from this?

"General counsel must procure a top-down and express commitment from the Board of Directors to establish a culture where bribery is unacceptable and a governance structure to support it. Indeed, this should be a point of pride for any company," the UK Ministry of Justice said.

That's certainly sound advice for in house general counsel, or for that matter, for any company.

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