On May 17, 2012, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton announced that restrictions on new investment in Burma would be eased and American businesses would soon be permitted to responsibly do business in Burma. This week, the U.S. Government implemented these changes to permit the first new U.S. investment in Burma in nearly 15 years and to broadly authorize the exportation of financial services to Burma.
Easing sanctions demonstrates our support for Burma’s ongoing political and economic reforms, and is calibrated to facilitate broad-based economic development, and help bring Burma out of isolation and in to the international community. As these vital reform efforts move forward, the United States will continue to work with the Burmese Government and industry to address our deep concerns about the lack of transparency in Burma’s investment environment and to help establish a level playing field for U.S. businesses operating there. The Justice Department’s anti-corruption law enforcement work is an important aspect of these efforts.
The department is committed to ensuring that international business conducted in Burma is in compliance with U.S. laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and our anti-money laundering statutes.
Since 2009, the department’s Criminal Division has substantially increased its anti-corruption enforcement around the globe. We have secured over 40 corporate resolutions resulting in more than $2.1 billion in penalties for foreign bribery related offenses. In addition, since 2009, we have secured convictions of more than 30 individuals for such crimes. Many of these convictions have resulted in substantial prison sentences. For example, last year, the former president of a telecommunications company was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in a scheme to bribe government officials in Haiti.
As Burma joins the community of nations in doing business with the United States, the U.S. government will continue to strongly support the work of reformers in Burma. Part of this support involves our continued commitment to enforcing the FCPA, helping Burma’s reformers to combat corruption, and ensuring that U.S. businesses can compete abroad based on the quality and price of their products and services, not on their willingness to bribe foreign officials.
Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.