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DOJ Individual Actions: The Strange Public – Private Divide

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This recent post highlighted certain facts and figures regarding the DOJ’s prosecution of individuals for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act offenses in 2020 and historically.

As highlighted in the prior post, DOJ FCPA individual enforcement actions are significantly skewed by a small handful of enforcement actions and the reality is, despite the DOJ’s rhetoric, approximately 75% of DOJ corporate enforcement actions since 2006 have not (at least yet) resulted in any related DOJ FCPA charges against company employees.

Another very interesting and significant picture emerges when analyzing actual DOJ individual FCPA prosecutions based on whether the individual charged was employed by or otherwise associated with an issuer or a private business organization.

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It Is Absolute BullSh*t To Assert That “Companies Are Now Paying An Average Of Half A Billion Dollars To Settle FCPA Enforcement Actions”

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This FCPA Blog post asserts “Companies are now paying an average of half a billion dollars to settle FCPA enforcement actions.”

This is absolute bullsh*t.

More FCPA fake news.

Set forth below are the actual FCPA settlement amounts from 2020 corporate enforcement actions.

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The Origins Of 2020 Corporate Enforcement Actions

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This recent post compared corporate FCPA enforcement actions in 2020 to prior years. However, before a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action is announced, scrutiny must first arise.

This post highlights the origins of the 12 core corporate enforcement actions in 2020. (See here for a similar post highlighting the origins of 2019 corporate enforcement actions; here for 2018 corporate enforcement actions; here for 2017 corporate enforcement actions and here for 2016 corporate enforcement actions).

As highlighted in the post, like prior years, 2020 corporate enforcement actions originated in a variety of ways from voluntary disclosures, to pro-active government investigations, to foreign law enforcement investigations.

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Corporate FCPA Enforcement In 2020 Compared To Prior Years

Statistical Analysis

This post, the first in a weeks-long statistical feast on FCPA Professor, compares corporate FCPA enforcement in 2020 to prior years. As reflected in the post, measured in terms of actual settlement amounts, 2020 was the largest in FCPA history as the DOJ/SEC collected approximately $2.78 billion (eclipsing the approximately $2.65 billion collected in 2019) in corporate enforcement actions.

Keep the numbers in this post in mind when you see other 2020 FCPA enforcement statistics that use creative and haphazard counting methods or fail to use accurate or consistent math. (See here for instance – ridiculously asserting that the DOJ/SEC “imposed financial penalties totaling a record $6.4 billion” in 2020).

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Trace’s Bribery Risk Matrix Restates The Obvious

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Recently Trace International released its Trace Bribery Risk Matrix.

Like other rankings of bribery and corruption, there is nothing per se wrong with the Bribery Risk Matrix. However, as stated several times on these pages (see here and here), I am not sure what these rankings really do (other than generate media coverage for the organization releasing the rankings) given that they generally restate the obvious (hence the picture of “Captain Obvious”).

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