The payoff in not paying off an official

For a company that sells high-quality products or services, paying a bribe overseas can still sometimes be very tempting. The fear of losing business to a corrupt competitor is strong—often stronger than the fear of being caught. The same temptation may be felt among athletes about doping or among students about cheating on a test.

In the United States, federal officials often feed into this corporate fear of losing out. American companies are being harmed by global corruption, says Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, who enforces anti-bribery laws. “The negative effects of foreign corruption inevitably flow back to the United States,” she says.

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