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The Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (FEPA), enacted on 14 December 2023, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024, establishes criminal liability for foreign officials soliciting or accepting bribes from specific US entities. FEPA criminalizes corrupt demands by foreign officials and carries potential penalties of up to USD 250,000 fine and 15 years imprisonment. Aligned with international anti-corruption conventions, FEPA reinforces the Biden Administration’s national security priority to combat corruption, and may impact FCPA investigations.

On 10 January 2024, the National Anti-Corruption Authority published some transitional indications on the application of the provisions of the New Public Procurement Code concerning the digitization of direct awarding for an amount of less than EUR 5,000.
This tool is a transitional and supplementary measure that can be adopted in case it is impossible or difficult to use the Certified Digital Procurement Platforms and does not exempt the contracting authority from the duty to transmit the relevant information to the National Public Contracts Database.

On 15 January 2024, Consip S.p.A. and Confindustria Dispositivi Medici (the Italian Association of Medical Device Companies) signed an institutional collaboration agreement aimed at identifying the best procurement opportunities for public administrations in the healthcare sector.

The Doing Business in the Philippines handbook aims to equip both local and foreign entrepreneurs with a practical guide to navigating the ever-evolving business landscape in the Philippines. It provides information on the requirements needed when setting up and operating a business in the Philippines, including incentives under special registrations, taxation, employment, IP, dispute resolution, and industry-specific regulations.

By means of Resolution PGN No. 92/23, acting Attorney General Eduardo Casal established performance criteria for representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office (PO) to set the performance standards of the PO in conciliatory proceedings between the accused and the victims of crimes in criminal cases.

The Resolution establishes that: (1) the intervention of the PO in the process corresponding to the conciliation agreement is necessary to ensure legality and to ensure the interests of society; (2) the prosecutor shall oppose any conciliation agreement that disregards normative and international regulatory mandates (treaties and supranational conventions); (3) prosecutors may argue criminal policy reasons (prior convictions, previous agreements, probation or multiplicity of crimes) to oppose and/or not consent to the agreement; (4) representatives of the PO must ensure the agile and informal participation of victims; and (5) conciliation agreements may be entered into before the indictment control hearing, closing of the investigation, and/or the elevation to trial.

On 1 January 2024, the provisions of the new Public Contracts Code on the digitization of public procurement laid down in Article 22 ‘National Digital Procurement Ecosystem (e-procurement)’ will come into force. The aim is to ensure maximum transparency, speed and a high level of simplification in the award and management of these contracts, with the aim of increasing the efficiency of the system and ensuring greater effectiveness of administrative action. The main innovation as of 1 January 2024 concerns the management of public tenders, for which the use of ‘certified’ digital platforms becomes mandatory, not only for the awarding phase, but also for all the other phases of the contract lifecycle, and in particular execution

The Council of State, in its judgment No. 2905 of 24 October 2023, reaffirmed that the principle of separation of tenders into lots may be derogated only to the extent that an adequate and specific motivation is provided, taking into account the principles of proportionality and reasonableness. The principle of subdivision into lots is an instrument which guarantees access to the market for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and it aims at increasing the efficiency of public expenditure, in particular by facilitating the participation of SMEs in public procurement.

The last thirty days in September, the end of the US federal government’s fiscal year, is generally an important time to analyze enforcement activity by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission. In this short video, Baker McKenzie Partner Peter Chan, a former SEC Assistant Director of Enforcement, provides his insights regarding the importance of the timing of some of these enforcement actions.