With preparations for the CEE Legal Matters Second Annual General Counsel Summit at full speed we’re adding new exciting speakers to the agenda on an ongoing basis. One such speaker is Gonenc Gurkaynak, Managing Partner of ELIG, Attorneys-at-Law. CEELM reached out to Gurkaynak to learn more about the presentation he intends to make at the event.
The topic you’ll be addressing to the room full of CEE Chief Legal Counsel is “Anti-Corruption Sensitivities for Multi-National Players in Emerging Markets.” Why did you select that?
G.G.: Corruption is a term which is susceptible to both economic conditions and to culture. As geographies shift, so do the perception and methods of corruption. This should be reflected in the tactics multi-national companies use to tackle corruption in emerging markets. Even the simplest anti-corruption principles with regards to compliance programs reflect this understanding: one size does not fit all. I look forward to discussing what a compliance officer based in the USA, the UK, or Europe should be mindful of when conducting activities in an emerging market like Turkey.
You’ll be focusing on multi-national companies, but do you find that there is some convergence in terms of the practices employed by them and local companies in emerging markets? If so, what’s the driving force for that in your mind?
G.G.: There is most definitely a convergence in the practices of companies in emerging markets and multi-national companies. I would attribute this to the increasing number and geography of cross-border anti-corruption law enforcements within the last decade or so. Such rigorous enforcement keeps the multi-national companies vigilant and, as a result, wherever they engage in transactions, they bring with them a certain anti-corruption culture. Local companies in emerging markets both imprint this awareness of corruption and keep an eye on their own reputations out of a concern that multi-national companies may not choose to work with them. On the other hand, the more local companies engage in international transactions, the more they risk falling afoul of various jurisdictions’ bribery laws. Hence, local firms in emerging markets, to the best of their ability, have begun mimicking multi-national companies in terms of anti-corruption law compliance.
Without giving too much of your talk away in advance, what are the main “sensitivities” you expect to cover?
G.G.: As we discussed earlier, the perception of corruption and how corruption occurs differs from culture to culture. The strength of the legal framework (in terms of both legislation and enforcement) also has a lot to do with defining the risks multi-national companies should expect to encounter in emerging markets. I will focus on how to fine-tune their anti-corruption efforts and how to familiarize themselves with the perceptions and common cultural pitfalls in terms of corruption. For example, due diligence steps and requirements may differ, and crucial elements of compliance programs such as trainings, leadership, and policy documents may also differ.
If you could leave members of the audience with one critical take-away after your presentation, what would you like it to be?
G.G.: In a nutshell, the motto would be one size does not fit all. As the geography changes and as the legal and political climates change, so should the methods of fighting corruption. Multi-national companies should recognize that preventing corruption in different jurisdictions, particularly in emerging markets, demands added value in terms of adaptation.
Finally, what are the aspects of the upcoming GC Summit that you’re most excited about?
G.G.: I am very much looking forward to the exchange of ideas between a broad range of experienced legal professionals. The legal frameworks and anti-corruption principles might be the same for all of us, but we all accumulate different experience in the field. I am particularly interested in the interaction of methods between the in-house and outside counsels. I am also looking forward to welcoming delegates to Istanbul for the event in October 2016.
On the lighter side and since you mentioned welcoming regional participants to Istanbul: While we have a rather full schedule, what spot is a must see for those in town for the first time?
G.G.: I have always admired the historical places in Turkey, especially in Istanbul. I would urge a first timer to go and visit the historical peninsula. I would say that Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, and Grand Bazaar are the must-see places in the peninsula.
If you have more time and have the opportunity to leave the city I would also suggest Cappadocia to enjoy the unique terrain.
This Article was originally published in Issue 3.2 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here.