Hello-Hello is a U.S. telecommunications company with global operations.
Sophia is an assistant vice president of Hello-Hello. She is dispatched to China to handle two situations. First, a shipment of 500 cases of cell phones is stalled in customs. She is assigned the task of getting the goods out of customs and into retail stores. Sophia learns through the grapevine that customs officials expect $5 (U.S.) per case to help “speed things along.” Second, she is instructed by her boss to do “whatever is necessary” to secure cell tower permits from local officials in two outlying areas. A local agent suggests that she give him $500,000 in cash so they can get to know the officials better. When Sophia asks him what the money will be used for, he tells her that he wants to take them out to dinner, maybe on a weekend outing in the city, and that he generally needs “flexibility.”
Should Sophia call the home office to ask for advice?
If her boss says to pay the money, should she do it?
What potential legal problems are presented by the payments?