The FBI addresses global fraud against the U.S. government and the corruption of federal public officials outside the continental United States.
International corruption negatively affects U.S. financial markets and economic growth.
The FBI investigates many types of international corruption, such as:
- Foreign Bribery/Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
- Kleptocracy/Foreign Corruption Program
- International Fraud Against the Government
- International Corruption of Federal Public Officials
FBI international corruption squads—based in Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and Washington, D.C.—address the national impact of these schemes. These squads work with numerous partners, including outreaching to the private sector.
The FBI investigates cases under two provisions in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA):
- The anti-bribery provision makes it illegal for U.S. companies and certain international companies to bribe foreign officials.
- The accounting provision of the FCPA focuses on requirements that apply to all U.S. companies and foreign companies whose securities are listed on the U.S. stock exchanges.
The U.S. government works with international law enforcement partners to investigate people in the U.S. who are complicit in paying bribes to foreign officials.
Learn more: Department of Justice FCPA Resource Guide
Kleptocracy—literally meaning “the rule by thieves”—is a form of political corruption in which the government seeks personal gain and status at the expense of the governed.
Corrupt leaders amass wealth by stealing state funds. Some of the worst examples have occurred in countries with very high rates of poverty.
When these corrupt leaders transfer their funds in U.S. dollars or using the U.S. banking system, the FBI can investigate money laundering, and working with international partners, forfeit the money back to legitimate authorities in victim countries.
Antitrust investigations target conspiracies among competitors to:
- fix prices
- rig bids
- allocate markets or customers.
Those who engage in antitrust violations make illegal profit at the expense of U.S. consumers. Antitrust violations destabilize economic markets and reduce incentives to economic competition.
The FBI was a co-founder of the International Contract Corruption Task Force, which was created in 2006 to address contract fraud concerns that originally stemmed from overseas U.S. government spending during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
These cases typically involve:
- contract extortion
- bid rigging
- conflicts of interest
- product substitution
- items/services invoiced without delivery
- diversion of goods, and corporate
- individual conspiracies at various levels of U.S. government operations
Misuse of U.S. funds overseas poses a threat to the U.S. and other countries by promoting corruption within the host nation, damaging diplomatic relations, and potentially strengthening criminal and terrorist organizations.
The FBI works with multiple law enforcement partners around the world as part of the International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre (IACCC). Established in 2017, the IACCC provides information, assistance, and other support to agencies investigating public corruption offenses.
- Australia: Australian Federal Police
- Canada: Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- New Zealand: Serious Fraud Office, New Zealand Police
- Singapore: Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau
- United Kingdom: National Crime Agency
- United States: FBI, DHS (ICE, HSI)
Learn More: IACCC brochure (pdf)
The Transnational Anti-Corruption Partnership program was established in March 2021. The TAP Program supports the FBI’s mission to lead global anti-corruption efforts through investigations of violations to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, kleptocracy, and antitrust matters.
Special agents serve as TAP advisors and are based in strategic international locations. They work with the U.S. State Department and FBI legal attaché offices around the world to establish and enhance relationships in their assigned regions. The TAP advisors provide assistance to foreign investigators and prosecutors to help them improve their respective capacities to investigate and prosecute international corruption matters.