The International Foreign Bribery Taskforce And The Rise Of International Cooperation Among Anti-Corruption Authorities

Author:Mr Ben Allen, Paul M. Lalonde, Daren Allen, Maxwell Carr-Howard and Matthew A. Lafferman

Recent events have called attention to the increasingly global nature of anti-corruption investigations and the rise in international cooperation among anti-corruption authorities. One such event involves the activities of the little-known International Foreign Bribery Taskforce (IFBT).

Generally working outside the public eye, the IFBT was established by the FBI, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Australian Federal Police and the City of London Police Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit in the Spring of 2013. The IFBT provides a platform for authorities in Australia, the US, Canada and the UK for real-time information sharing and cooperation on cross-border anti-corruption investigations and prosecutions. Additionally, representatives of the four investigatory bodies meet annually to share investigative techniques, methodologies and best practices, and to determine the IFBT member best suited to lead on particular multi-jurisdictional matters.

Recently, more light was shed on the inner workings of the IFBT when representatives of the group addressed the 2016 Annual Conference of the International Forum on Business Ethical Conduct for the Aerospace and Defence Industry (IFBEC), held in London on November 15 and 16. Panelists representing the four law enforcement agencies comprising the IFBT discussed how the organization operates and its idiosyncrasies. The speakers explained that if one of the agencies is investigating misconduct involving another IFBT country, the agencies will often start communications "quite early" in the process and keep in close contact, in many cases interacting on an almost daily basis. Panelists also indicated that the agencies informally assign one entity to take a leading role in each investigation. Generally, this decision is based not only on the location of the misconduct or the situs of the evidence, but where the largest penalty can likely be obtained. 

Representatives also shared the number of cross-border bribery investigations each agency is currently handling. Predictably, the United States has the mostaround 140 open FCPA investigations. Britain reported having around 38 active cases involving its Bribery Act, and Australia and Canada each reported 20 ongoing investigations. According to the panel, personnel from the member agencies frequently work out of each other's offices. For instance, contemporaneous with the IFBEC conference, the FBI and the Australian Federal Police both had agents in London...

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