The Department of Justice Releases the First Edition of the FCPA Resource Guide in Spanish

December 12, 2023
FCPA, Insights

On March 3, 2023, at the American Bar Association White Collar Crime Conference, Kenneth A. Polite, the Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), announced that the DOJ would–for the first time–publish the FCPA Resource Guide in Spanish.  The DOJ followed through with its promise and released the Spanish language Guide in March 2023.   The FCPA Resource Guide in Spanish is available through the following link:

History of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Resource Guide

Enacted in 1977, the FCPA is a United States federal criminal law that prohibits bribery and corruption of foreign government officials in international business transactions. It primarily targets the offering, promising, or giving of anything of value to foreign government officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business.  It also prohibits U.S.-listed public companies from disguising the payment of bribes in their books and records.

The FCPA Resource Guide was first released in English in November 2012 as a joint effort by the DOJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to provide a comprehensive overview of the FCPA, its provisions, and enforcement actions.  It has been a tremendously useful guide for companies to understand the intricacies of the FCPA.  It is not a bland recitation of the law–to the contrary, it contains concrete, real-world examples of situations companies and employees may encounter where the FCPA comes into play.  The Guide also contains useful guidance on how companies can structure corporate compliance programs to avoid an enforcement action or to minimize the penalties if the company violates the law.  The Guide has been updated over the years to reflect the latest legal developments and enforcement trends.

As a frequent lecturer at conferences in Spanish-speaking countries and for clients in Latin America, I have had to translate portions of the guide myself into Spanish over the last decade to help my audiences understand the concepts.  The release of the Spanish version of the Guide will be very helpful as I counsel Latin American clients facing investigations or implementing compliance programs.  I hope the DOJ releases a Portuguese-language version of the Guide soon.

DOJ Remains Focused on Latin America

The Department of Justice’s publication of the FCPA Resource Guide in Spanish shows that the DOJ remains focused on the Latin American region for enforcement.  With recent large FCPA settlements involving Latin America, including Petrobras (2018, Brazil), Odebrescht (2016, Brazil), Walmart (2019, Mexico), and LAN Airlines (2016, Argentina), foreign companies and their employees and agents will need to be familiar with the FCPA and how the U.S. may use it to exercise jurisdiction over them.

FFS partner Dan Fridman has substantial experience conducting FCPA investigations in Latin America, including in Brazil and in Argentina, and advising companies and employees on their legal exposure and on improving their compliance programs.


DOJ & SEC. (2020). A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Second Edition. Retrieved from 

DOJ. (2023). El Departamento de Justicia Publica la Guía de Recursos de la FCPA en Español [Press release]. Retrieved from