Employees of Foreign Counterparties Owned by Foreign Government May Be “Foreign Officials” for FCPA Purposes

April 28, 2011
A federal district court in California, in denying a motion to dismiss a criminal case, recently ruled that officers and employees of a state-owned utility corporation in Mexico are “foreign officials” under the FCPA. This update examines the ruling and its implications, highlighting the risk that U.S. businesses face when doing business overseas, as FCPA liability can attach when dealing with corporations that are, for all practical purposes, counterparties and not government agencies.