Lawrence W. Newman has been a partner in the New York office of Baker & McKenzie since 1971, when, together with the late Professor Henry deVries, he founded the litigation department in that office. He is the author/editor of 4 works on international litigation/arbitration.
Michael Burrows, Formerly, Of Counsel, Baker & McKenzie, New York.
Corrupt activities on the part of foreign officials have a significant impact on American businesses and even on American individuals. Until very recently, however, only the United States had made a legislative effort to combat corruption in foreign countries -- in the form of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78dd-1 and § 78dd-2. This situation changed in 1996, when 21 member states of the Organization of American States -- although not the United States -- signed the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, and again in 1997, when all 29 Member Countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as well as five non-member countries, signed the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, 37 I.L.M.1 (1998).
The OECD Convention, which is in the process of being implemented through legislation in signatory states, takes a firm stance against international corrupt activities, primarily in the form of bribery in the business context. Thus, although those involved in international litigation and international transactions will benefit from increased protection under the OECD Convention, there may be gaps in the protection that it affords.