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Facilitation Payments Seen as Problematic by Many Companies
Date:10/5/2009

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Although facilitation payments are still permitted by some countries, many companies say banning them would make no difference to their businesses, according to survey results released today by TRACE, a non-profit membership association providing anti-bribery compliance solutions for multinational companies and their commercial intermediaries.

Such payments -- also called "expediting payments" or "grease payments" -- are bribes permitted under United States, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and South Korean laws to encourage government officials in other nations to perform or expedite routine tasks that are a part of their usual responsibilities, such as connecting phones, delivering mail, completing inspections, and processing shipments through customs.

"Facilitating payments are a hot topic of debate in the anti-bribery compliance community," said Alexandra Wrage, President of TRACE. "In our benchmarking survey, more than 45 percent of respondents said that if such payments were prohibited everywhere, their jobs would be easier, and another 48 percent said such a prohibition would not affect their jobs at all. Fewer than 7 percent of these business people said their jobs would be more difficult if facilitation payments were banned. Our finding that 93 percent of respondents' jobs would be easier or unaffected if facilitation payments were banned confirms the growing recognition worldwide that what grease payments tend to facilitate is more demands, and, in many cases, they make doing business even more difficult."

The TRACE survey underscored considerable differences in how corporations treat facilitation payments, and clear patterns emerged regarding how payments are perceived, the level of risk they pose to corporations, and the guidance respondents would find useful from government authorities and regulating agencies to understand what is permissible when making them.


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SOURCE TRACE
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