The memorandum calls for more resources, legislation, and interagency and cross-border coordination to significantly strengthen anti-corruption law enforcement in the United States.
On June 3, 2021, President Biden released a memorandum declaring anti-corruption efforts “a fundamental interest of the national security of the United States” and announcing a plan to “significantly strengthen” anti-corruption enforcement. While previous administrations have highlighted the fight against corruption as a key enforcement priority, the memorandum, together with recent statements by senior officials of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) regarding the focus on Foreign Corrupt Practices Law Enforcement (“FCPA”) emphasizes the Biden administration’s priority for domestic and foreign anti-corruption law enforcement and cross-border coordination.
The memorandum assigns 15 agencies, including the DOJ, the Treasury Department, and the State Department, to conduct an interagency review process and prepare a report and recommendations on the development of a presidential anti-corruption strategy. corruption. The main priorities of the review are to modernize and improve the capacity to fight corruption through increased resources, promotion of cooperation with national and international partners and legislation.
Indeed, on June 10, 2021, a bipartisan congressional caucus announced an effort to tackle global corruption and kleptocracy. Another priority is to implement mechanisms to combat “all forms of illicit financing”, through legislation, financial transparency, improved information sharing and other reforms. One of the objectives of the memorandum is to make “it increasingly difficult for corrupt actors to protect their activities”.
The memorandum marks the continued attention of the United States to the FCPA and other international corruption investigations and enforcement activities through various means, including increased interagency and cross-border coordination. With the memorandum’s explicit link between corruption and national security and its direction for an interagency review process, the Biden administration undeniably seeks to scale up anti-corruption efforts to an unprecedented level by engaging a broad spectrum. US government agencies to such efforts.
And while the DOJ is already working with many international regulators on FCPA investigations, the memorandum’s provisions for international support and collaboration will, in all likelihood, lead to even more (and more effective) parallel and joint investigations involving authorities. Americans and their counterparts across the country. world. In the longer term, this may well lead the DOJ to have a stronger and more formalized collaboration with, and additional resources and support from other government agencies (especially US intelligence agencies and security tools). national) in their international anti-corruption efforts. Financial institutions, in particular, may see new levels of oversight from the Treasury Department, especially in light of the Anti-money laundering law enacted earlier this year.
For these reasons, expect continued, if not increased, focus on FCPA enforcement and international coordination of anti-corruption enforcement under the Biden administration.