Tokyo Anti-Corruption Forum 2018
In May, The Legal 500 and GC magazine, in partnership with Morrison & Foerster, hosted the first in a series of Anti-Corruption Forums set to take place across Asia. Held exclusively for senior in-house counsel, the event brought together 25 leading general counsel, heads of legal and heads of compliance from across Japan to discuss current anti-corruption trends and share best practices to mitigate emerging risks.
Anti-corruption and anti-bribery practices are a particularly pertinent issue at present, as next year the OECD will conduct its first evaluation of Japan since 2011. Last time Japan was evaluated, the results were far from flattering, with foreign bribery and kansei dango – a form of bureaucrat-led collusion to rig bids for public projects – cited as major issues which required tackling.
Chuck Duross, head of Morrison & Foerster’s global anti-corruption practice – who most recently served as a deputy chief in the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice, where he led the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Unit and was in charge of all of the DOJ’s FCPA investigations, prosecutions and resolutions in the United States – gave a scene-setting presentation to open the day – offering a unique insight into the practices of that agency, which has asserted increasingly broad jurisdiction and international scope. Duross was joined by Morrison & Foerster Asia-based partners, who each shared their practical experience:
- Timothy Blakely (head of litigation, Morrison & Foerster, Hong Kong)
- Daniel Levison (head of litigation, Morrison & Foerster, Singapore)
- Chie Yakura (litigation partner, Morrison & Foerster, Tokyo)
- Yuka Teraguchi (litigation partner, Morrison & Foerster, Tokyo)
In the first session, putting in place proper infrastructure to prevent anti-corruption practices was a common characteristic amongst those who had a successful track record of managing and navigating incidents. Duross provided practical insight into what government investigators look for and what to do when faced with crisis.
The issue of resourcing and staffing of the compliance function was the second key area of discussion, with a distinct contrast in the different approaches taken between the various organisations represented. One general counsel in attendance cited a strong relationship between the board and the compliance function as the top predictor for adequate investment and importance afforded to anti-corruption practices. Budget was a common issue for many in attendance, with the cost of investigations, as well as the perceived risk of a business relative to its budget, both cited as difficulties when implementing internal anti-bribery and anti-corruption programmes.
In the final session of the day, how technology can be used to improve compliance with anti-corruption legislation and regulation was discussed. Compliance training was the most common area of use for those in attendance and was most frequently utilised by major multi-national companies. One general counsel explained seeing a major improvement in compliance rates after developing the training into an interactive format, specifically a video game, with high scores rewarded with prizes.