Washington International Law Journal


The expanding global movement against overseas bribery has emerged as one of the foremost issues in international trade. This paper explores the complex issues surrounding this multilateral anti-bribery movement, particularly focusing on one of the central concerns at the heart of this debate: what type of different cultural perspectives and legal traditions exists regarding questionable payments and whether they need to be respected. This study approaches this subject by discussing how the Korean legal system distinguishes between permissible gifts such as "rice-cake expenses" and illicit payments. In the process, the new legal interpretations that were developed by the Korean judiciary in the sensational slush fund trials of former presidents Chun Doo-Hwan and Rob Tae-Woo are reviewed. In conclusion, this paper suggests that an international consensus against foreign bribery might be able to better harmonize concerns such as cultural differences by incorporating certain elements of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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