Dangling the Carrot, Sharpening the Stick: How an Amnesty Program and Qui Tam Actions Could Strengthen Korea’s Anti-Corruption Efforts

Kim, Sang Beck | January 1, 2016

Corruption, both in the public and private sector, has long plagued Korea’s economy. Unfortunately, the detection of corruption and bribery is inherently difficult because the crime is by its nature self-concealing. Thus, governments heavily rely on inside information for detection and prosecution of bribery. Such inside information comes through primarily two types of sources: (i) self-reporting by wrongdoers, and (ii) whistleblowers with inside knowledge. However, Korea’s legal sanction regime does not sufficiently incentivize corporations and individuals to self-report or come forward to reveal misconduct. This Comment proposes that Korea’s current anti-corruption laws could be strengthened by embracing the two regulatory tools that have proven very effective in bringing forth inside information in the U.S. context: (i) The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Amnesty Program, and (ii) the False Claims Act (FCA) Qui Tam Enforcement Model. Overall, the adoption of these features would establish a “carrots and sticks” regulatory framework for optimal enforcement of Korean anti-corruption laws.