Corporate Liability for Foreign Corrupt Practices under Canadian Law

By Blyschak, Paul | McGill Law Journal, March 2014 | Go to article overview

Corporate Liability for Foreign Corrupt Practices under Canadian Law


Blyschak, Paul, McGill Law Journal


Compliance with, and risk management in respect of, foreign anti-corruption law has quickly become a priority for Canadian corporations with international operations or assets. This article tracks this rapid evolution in Canadian corporate culture and compliance through a broad examination of corporate liability for foreign corrupt practices under Canadian law. Rather than merely conduct a review of the law governing corporate liability for foreign corrupt practices under Canadian law, however, this article also highlights a number of unresolved, problematic, or more complex areas of such law. This review does not purport to the exhaustive; nor does it presume offer definitive answers to the numerous questions posed. Rather, given the recent acceleration of the enforcement of the CFPOA by Canadian authorities, the aim of this article is to contribute novel legal analysis to an increasingly important area of corporate law and practice.

La conformite avec les lois concernant la lutte a la corruption a l'etranger et la gestion des risques associes a cette problematique sont rapidement devenues des priorites pour les societes canadiennes qui operent a l'etranger ou qui y detiennent des actifs. Le present article retrace cette evolution rapide dans la culture d'entreprise canadienne en se penchant sur le droit de la responsabilite des personnes morales pour la corruption a l'etranger. En plus d'exposer l'etat du droit canadien, cet article identifie plusieurs questions irresolues et aspects problematiques et complexes de ce domame de droit. L'analyse ne se veut pas exhaustive et l'auteur ne pretend pas apporter de reponses definitives aux questions soulevees. L'article vise plutot a contribuer a l'analyse juridique d'un domaine du droit canadien des societes qui prend rapidement de l'expansion, notamment par la recente acceleration de la mise en ceuvre de la Loi sur la corruption d'agents publics etrangers par les autorites canadiennes.

Introduction
  I. The CFPOA and its Prohibitions
 II. Bill C-45 and Section 22.2 of the Criminal Code
III. Corporate Liability under the CFPOA and
     Criminal Code Sections 22.2(a) and 22.2(b)
 IV. Corporate Liability under the CFPOA and Criminal
     Code Section 22.2(c)
  V. Corporate liability for the Corrupt Practices of Third
     Party Agents
     A. Third Party' Agents and Foreign Corrupt Practices
        Risk
     B. R. v. Briscoe and the Doctrine of "Wilful Blindness"
     C. "Conscious Avoidance"ajidUnited States v. Kozeny
     D. Wilful Blindness and Criminal Code Section 22.2
 VI. Corporate Liability for the Corrupt Practices of Acquisition
     Targets
     A. Share Acquisitions and Nationality Jurisdiction Versus
        Territorial Jurisdiction
     B. Asset Acquisitions and the Doctrine of Successor
        Liability
VII. Corporate Liability for the Corrupt Practices of Subsidiaries
Conclusion

Introduction

Compliance with, and risk management in respect of, foreign anti-corruption law has quickly become a priority for Canadian corporations with international operations or assets. Although enacted in 1999, the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act ("CFPOA") (1) sat largely ignored by Canadian federal officials for over a decade until growing international criticism prompted a revision of policy. (2) Federal action has been swift since this time, with details of new arrests and prosecutions regularly making the news, and approximately thirty-five investigations reportedly underway in 2013. (3) The watershed moment was the guilty plea of Niko Resources Ltd. to the bribery of a Bangladeshi energy minister in June 2011. (4) Since that time, other highly recognizable tribulations have likely been those of Griffiths International Energy Inc. and SNC-Lavalin. (5)

Faced with this sea change in the Canadian enforcement landscape, Canadian corporations with international operations have rushed to ensure compliance with the CFPOA and its prohibitions, including through the adoption of anti-corruption policies and procedures. …

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