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The Wall Street Journal

'Instrumentality' Definition Leads FCPA Bar to Discuss Its Meaning

On May 16, the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit provided a definition of "instrumentality" under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to include state-owned companies. By defining "instrumentality," the new ruling narrows the unbounded interpretations of the FCPA.

"The court did an excellent job of boiling down [the definition] to its essence, so compliance officers can ask a simple question," said White & Case partner Kathleen Hamann, "does the foreign government treat [the entity] as its own?"

Hamann said the definition will be helpful to corporate compliance officers explaining their programs to company employees.