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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

FACT SHEET: The U.S. Global Anticorruption Agenda

President Obama and the U.S. Government continue to drive a robust agenda to stem corruption around the world and hold to account those who exploit the public’s trust for private gain.  Preventing corruption preserves funds for public revenue and thereby helps drive development and economic growth.  By contrast, pervasive corruption siphons revenue away from the public budget and undermines the rule of law and the confidence of citizens in their governments, facilitates human rights abuses and organized crime, empowers authoritarian rulers, and can threaten the stability of entire regions.  The United States views corruption as a growing threat to the national security of our country and allies around the world.

The United States has been a global leader on anticorruption efforts since enacting the first foreign bribery law, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), in 1977.  The United States was a leader in developing fundamental international legal frameworks such as the UN Convention against Corruption and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Anti-Bribery Convention and the rest of the global architecture for international legal cooperation in areas such as asset recovery and denial of entry.  The United States also has been a leader in providing funding for capacity building to fight corruption and promote good governance.

The United States continues to take action to prevent the U.S. legal and financial systems from being exploited by those who engage in, or launder the proceeds of, corruption.  We will continue to work with key allies and partners, including in the Open Government Partnership, the G-7, the G-20, and the OECD Working Group on Bribery, to improve transparency, integrity, and accountability worldwide.  We will continue our support to promote the important role of civil society in providing accountability, including through non-government organizations, a robust and independent media, and the private sector, and will continue to work with governments to safeguard the independence of judiciaries, prosecutors, and oversight bodies.  We will hold responsible governments that tolerate or commit corrupt practices in contravention of international norms, including by adjusting our bilateral relations and advising our businesses and investors accordingly.

This Administration is undertaking a number of actions to promote transparency and stem corruption worldwide.

  • Pursuing corrupt actors and the proceeds of corruption.  The United States continues to use law enforcement and administrative tools to hold corrupt actors accountable and to retrieve the proceeds of corruption hidden in the U.S. financial system.
    • The United States continues to apply the FCPA to prosecute those who pay bribes to foreign officials to obtain business benefits.  Since 2009, the United States has resolved criminal cases against more than 50 corporations worldwide with penalties of approximately $3 billion, and it has convicted more than 50 individuals, including CEOs, CFOs, and other high-level corporate executives, for FCPA and FCPA-related crimes.
    • The United States continues to work with partner governments to pursue recovery of the proceeds of corruption, for the benefit of the citizens of the affected nations, including by establishing the recent Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery and the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery which will hold its third session in November 2014.  The United States has established anti-kleptocracy units of investigators and prosecutors dedicated to cooperate with other countries on asset recovery.
    • The United States will continue to use visa authorities to deter the corrupt, their beneficiaries, and their enablers from engaging in corruption and using the United States as a safe haven.
    • The Administration will advocate for legislation to close gaps in our money laundering laws regarding the proceeds of certain crimes committed abroad.
  • Working with U.S. businesses.  The U.S. Government works closely with U.S. businesses to ensure that private actors maintain their international brand as transparent and accountable partners.  The United States will develop a National Action Plan to promote and incentivize responsible business conduct, including with respect to transparency and anticorruption, consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises.
  • Preventing the abuse of anonymous shell companies.  The United States is taking several actions to prevent corrupt actors from using anonymous shell companies to engage in or launder the proceeds of corruption.
    • In his Fiscal Year 2015 budget request, the President proposed legislation to give law enforcement access to the identity of the natural persons exercising control over legal entities organized in the United States in order to facilitate law enforcement investigations and enhance transparency.
    • In August 2014, the Department of the Treasury published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking to clarify and strengthen customer due diligence obligations for U.S. financial institutions, including a requirement to identify beneficial owners of certain customers that are legal entities.
  • Improving transparency in the extractives industry.  The extractives industry is especially susceptible to corruption, and the United States is taking several actions to ensure that extractives companies and governments remain accountable.
    • The United States will conduct a review of how the U.S. government integrates international best practices for transparency in the extractive industries in its foreign policy engagements. 
    • The United States is working with G-7 and other partners to improve assistance to governments for negotiating complex contracts with the private sector to promote the adoption of more sustainable agreements, including supporting the launch of to provide requesting governments a complete picture of the negotiation process and to connect them with further assistance.
  • Working with other countries to promote anticorruption, transparency and open government.  The United States, through numerous assistance programs, works closely with countries around the world to build transparent and accountable financial and legal systems. The Departments of State and U.S. Agency for International Development devote approximately $1 billion per year to anticorruption and related good governance programs.
  • Galvanizing global efforts to promote open government principles in the Open Government Partnership (OGP).  With the leaders of seven other nations, President Obama in 2011 launched the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative in which governments make concrete commitments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies.  The OGP has grown rapidly from 8 to 64 countries and has generated thousands of new commitments to improve government for more than 2 billion people around the world.  From the passage of anticorruption legislation, to robust commitments to publish information on government spending, to new freedom of information laws, OGP has initiated a race to the top and is helping to transform the way that governments serve their citizens in the 21st century.