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CFOs and CEOs, who have had to worry in recent years about being held personally liable for financial statements, have a new concern: They could be found liable for bribes that local managers might be paying in foreign countries to promote their companies’ business there. Both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice say they are stepping up enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a 1977 law that makes it illegal for U.S. companies to bribe foreign government officials–a loose term that could be inter-preted to mean anyone who works for a state-owned or state-controlled firm overseas.

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