The recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Goldman Sachs was the largest in FCPA history in terms of actual settlement amount ($1.66 billion).
Yes, the conduct at issue involved large bribe payments (according to the DOJ approximately $1.6 billion). Yes, the conduct at issue resulted in (according to the DOJ) Goldman obtaining “in excess of $600 million in fees and revenue across its divisions, and increased Goldman’s stature in SE Asia.” Yes, the conduct of the culpable Goldman employees criminally charged (Tim Leissner and Roger Ng) was egregious.
Viewed through the strict lens of respondeant superior, perhaps the record-setting FCPA enforcement action was justified. In this regard, the Goldman press release nicely stated in plain English: “We all share in the benefits when our colleagues perform well for our clients. The opposite must be true as well. When a colleague knowingly violates a firm policy, or much worse, the law, we – as a firm – have to accept responsibility and recognize the broader failure that individual behavior represents for our firm.”
However, based on the DOJ’s (and SEC’s) allegations, the Goldman enforcement action was much different than certain other top ten FCPA enforcement actions.