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Intercountry adoption bribes unlawful for US citizens


Today James Marsh wrote an interesting article on his blog called Corrupting International Adoption, related to the use of bribes in intercountry adoption and its relation to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act [FCPA].

The article explains how the FCPA prohibits bribery committed by Americans outside of the USA. The law applies as well to companies as to individuals and prohibits making payments -- or offering or promising to pay money or anything of value -- to any foreign official with the purpose of inducing the recipient to misuse his official position by directing business to or maintaining business with the payor.

We all know many PAP's travel to far away countries with crisp dollar bills to pay in cash for "services rendered". While of course many know bribery is illegal in the country they are visiting, many will not be aware that it is also illegal under US law. Many are willing to take the risk, knowing they will be out of the country before anyone will find out, but according to the FCPA, such acts can be prosecuted under American law.

The only thing I still wonder is whether lying in a foreign court is illegal by American law. It is a well known phenomenon that umbrella'ing (adopting through an unaccredited adoption agency that uses an accredited agency to receive children) often leads to adoptive parents lying in foreign court. When asked which adoption agency they are using, they name the accredited agency. I wonder if there is some FCPA-like law that prohibits such activities.

by Niels on Wednesday, 20 May 2009