- “It’s not my law” syndrome. There is an attitude among some third parties whereby they do not consider themselves as signatories or responsible to anti-bribery laws and acts. Thus, such intermediaries will have an attitude of “the law does not apply to me,” or worse, “it is legal here.” Where that corrupt approach exists before a relationship is even formalized, there is great peril for all involved. Those third parties which look at the vetting process with “corrupt intent” and which do not seriously undertake the legal obligations as put forth in investigatory and vetting processes, will simply do and say “whatever it takes” to get representation and corporate agreement finalized.
- Collusion with an internal sponsor. When an internal business sponsor, e.g. country manager, sales manager, etc., recommends an intermediary for onboarding, be additionally mindful of incentives, and the relationship between the sponsor and the intermediary. As Scott Killingsworth explains “it is not just difficult, but impossible, to be truly objective about a decision when we have a significant interest in the outcome.”** In my experience, where companies do not look into the motives behind such internal endorsements, companies would be well advised to listen to Mel Glapion, Managing Director, Kroll, and think about “sharpening the saw, and improving the processes and measuring that information that’s coming back to you.”
- Impact of regime change. As Mr. Glapion, states, “people give good, very positive political statements about what they’re doing, but if you scratch a little bit harder, what you see is that the follow-through doesn’t support it.” Or, as stated in the title “vet it and forget it.” While Mr. Glapion recommends a four-year review and audit cycle, I would add that in regions with low integrity reputations, and where there is a regime change, such an event should trigger an automatic re-vetting protocol.
** Killingsworth’s complete paper, ‘C’ Is for Crucible: Behavioral Ethics, Culture, and the Board’s Role in C-Suite Compliance, is available as a free download at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2271840. Scott Killingsworth is a Partner, Bryan Cave.