Today, I round out the series by discussing the final play considered in this oeuvre, Timon of Athens”. While the first four Problem Plays are most generally described as a play where the mask of comedy (not the mask of tragedy) ends the plays; i.e. everyone gets married at the end of the day, even though these were really not happy endings. They are not precisely tragedies either because of one or more comedic element. Usually in the middle is some very dark part, which tests the reader, play-goer or listener with some very difficult subjects. However today’s offering is a Problem Play for yet another reason – it does not seem to be finished.

First, the play was apparently co-written by Shakespeare with Thomas Middleton. Moreover, much about this play makes it seem unfinished including unexplained plot developments, characters who appear unexplained and say little, and the two epitaphs. The Riverside Shakespearecalls Timon of Athens “a poor relation of the major tragedies.” Finally, according to Nicole Gluckstern, the play “doesn’t appear to have ever been performed during Shakespeare’s time.”

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) world is littered with cases involving freight forwarders, brokers and agents in the shipping and express delivery arena. How can a company respond to protect itself or at least reduce its potential FCPA risk with regards to a logistics company, freight forwarder or express delivery company?

James Min, former Vice President and Global Head of International Trade Law for Deutsche Post DHL in its Legal Department, developed a risk matrix for the freight forwarders/express delivery industry. In this Min analyzes risks by multiplying factors noted herein and thus scoring. The key in this approach is how often the Customs Broker/Express Delivery Service varies above the average for customs clearance times. If the percentage of customs clearance performance is so great that your vendors variance is above 100% most of the time, this could be a Red Flag that bribery or corruption is involved. This should lead to further investigation, due diligence, or asking questions of your vendor.

Timon of Athens did not seem to have a process in mind when he gave all his possessions away. In the forest, he could only seethe with rage and contemplate the destruction of his former city and friends. Creative uses of your own risk ranking tools will go a long way in determining your company’s FCPA liability. You must have a thoughtful process and document that process.

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