I recently saw the performance of King Lear with Glenda Jackson as the mad king. It was a magnificent production and if you have the chance to see, I would certainly urge you to do so. The production had many interesting features and interpretations which seemed to be great entrees into several compliance topics. The play was directed by Sam Gold and it was scored by Phillip Glass but the star power was derived from Jackson as King Lear. It was a fabulous take on the story and one that will resonate directly to our turbulent times. Therefore, inspired by octogenarian Jackson and her performance, I am going to use King Lear as a deep dive into several compliance topics this week. In this episode, I want to discuss the opening scene where Lear bids his daughters express the breadth and scope of their love for him.

Lear has called a conference to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia, his youngest who is clearly is favorite. Goneril professes her love is more than words alone can convey, saying “A love that makes . . . speech unable / Beyond all manner of so much I love you”. Regan professes, “Myself an enemy to all other joys, Which the most precious square of sense possesses, And find I am alone felicitate in your dear Highness’ love.” However, Cordelia refuses to play the flattering fool. Her father twice gives her the opportunity to redress this decision but she holds firm saying “Nothing, my lord”. This leads to the break in the family, the deaths of the sisters and the fullest scope of tragedy.

Why do you need to engage your audience? I thought about this in the context of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, compliance and regime change. This is not Saddam Hussain regime change where the US government invades a country to throw out the old boss. This is a democratically elected-peaceful transfer of power. However, it now appears that regime change now means corruption investigations which impact not only the FCPA but also US companies. Every compliance officer needs to aware of this new reality. Take three recent regime changes, together with what they have meant; and perhaps one to come.

  1. South Africa
  2. Malaysia
  3. Brazil
  4. Venezuela

The bottom line is that every Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) must now watch local politics much more closely. If you are doing business in a high-risk country and there are new leaders brought in through democratically elected regime change, your company had better be ready for a robust corruption investigation. Certainly if Malaysia, South Africa and Brazil are any indication, prosecutors from nations with new regimes may well share their findings with the US Department of Justice (DOJ). This means that regime change could lead directly to a FCPA investigation, where the disclosure was by a foreign government and not the company self-disclosing. If there is no self-disclosure, a company is not eligible for the declination under the 2017 FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy.

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