32 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – JUNE 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM ANTI-CORRUPTION Southeast Asia has long been recognised as a region that poses significant risks and challenges for businesses regarding anti-bribery compliance. Companies that operate in Southeast Asia are required to navigate a complex legal landscape and adhere to strict regulations to prevent violations and protect their reputation. The regulatory landscape for antibribery compliance in Southeast Asia can be complex, with each country having its own unique set of laws and regulations. However, several key international antibribery standards are widely recognised in the region, including the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act. “If the region can be characterised broadly, it is that it is incredibly diverse in terms of economic development, legal systems, and bribery risk, and there is a lack of uniformity with respect to laws and regulations targeting bribery and corruption,” says Daniel Levison, partner and head ethics and compliance practice in Asia for Morrison Foerster. His view is echoed by Nathan Bush, partner at DLA Piper. “Every jurisdiction in Southeast Asia has its own distinct anti-bribery and anti-corruption law regime. There is no shortage of recommended best practices for effective anti-bribery compliance programs from enforcement agencies, NGOs, and multilateral bodies. The challenge for companies operating in Southeast Asia is effectively localising these global best practices,” he notes. Singapore has had a reputation for being a clean and corruption-free country, and its Prevention of Corruption Act 1960 (PCA) has been instrumental in maintaining that status. The PCA criminalises bribery, corruption, and related HEIGHTENING RISKS With countries beginning to open their borders completely, and corporates revitalising expansion efforts or diversifying their supply chains into growth markets across Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, corruption and other compliance risks are constantly increasing. Lawyers say that companies need to step up their vigilance by conducting meaningful assessments of risks, and implementing appropriate controls that address the risks unique to the specific jurisdiction. BY SACHIN DAVE Image: Motortion Films/