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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).

The most reliable and accurate way to keep FCPA enforcement statistics is by using the “core” approach which focuses on unique instances of FCPA scrutiny. The core approach does not distort FCPA enforcement statistics by double counting parallel DOJ and SEC actions involving the same core conduct announced on the same day nor does the core approach distort FCPA enforcement statistics by separately counting the sometimes unique ways the DOJ slices and dices corporate conduct between parent companies and subsidiaries. As highlighted in the article “A Common Language to Remedy Distorted FCPA Enforcement Statistics,” the core approach to tracking FCPA enforcement has been endorsed by the DOJ and is a commonly accepted method used to track enforcement in other areas of law.

The below chart provides a summary of corporate FCPA enforcement data (DOJ and SEC combined) for the years 2007-2020, as well as notable circumstances that significantly skewed enforcement data statistics for particular years.

Corporate FCPA Enforcement Actions (2007 – 2020)

Year Core Actions Settlement Amounts Of Note
2020 12 $2.78 billion One enforcement action (Goldman Sachs – $1.66 billion) comprises approximately 60% of the $2.78 billion amount and three enforcement actions (Goldman plus Novartis – $347 million and Airbus – $294 million) comprise approximately 83% of the $2.78 billion amount.


2019 14 $2.65 billion Two enforcement actions (Ericsson and MTS) comprise approximately 70% of the $2.65 billion amount.


2018 17 $1 billion Three enforcement actions (Panasonic, Societe General and Petrobras) comprised approximately 75% of the $1 billion amount.


2017 13 $1.1 billion Two enforcement actions (Telia and SBM Offshore) comprised approximately 65% of the $1.13 billion amount and four enforcement actions (the two mentioned above plus Rolls-Royce and Keppel Offshore & Marine) comprised approximately 88% of the amount.


2016 27 $2.4 billion Three enforcement actions (Teva, Odebrecht/Braskem and VimpelCom) comprised approximately 56% of the $2.41 billion amount and five enforcement actions (the three mentioned above plus JP Morgan and Embraer) comprised approximately 72% of the amount.


2015 11 $139 million No enforcement actions significantly skewed the statistics.


2014 10 $1.6 billion Two enforcement actions (Alstom – $772 million and Alcoa – $384 million) comprised approximately 72% of the $1.6 billion amount.


2013 9 $720 million The $398 million Total enforcement action comprised approximately 55% of the $720 million amount.


2012 12 $260 million No enforcement actions significantly skewed the statistics.


2011 16 $503 million The $219 million JGC Corp. enforcement action comprised approximately 44% of the $503 million amount.


2010 21 $1.4 billion Six enforcement actions, all resolved on the same day, involved various oil and gas companies’ use of Panalpina in Nigeria. Panalpina also resolved an enforcement action on the same day.

Two enforcement actions (Technip and Eni / Snamprogetti) involved the same alleged conduct in Nigeria.

In other words, there were 14 unique corporate enforcement actions in 2010. Of further note, the two Nigeria enforcement actions, Technip($338 million) and Eni/Snamprogetti ($365 million) comprised approximately 50% of the $1.4 billion amount.


2009 11 $645 million The $579 million KBR / Halliburton enforcement action comprised approximately 90% of the $645 million amount.


2008 10 $885 million The $800 million Siemens enforcement action comprised approximately 90% of the $885 million amount.


2007 15 $149 million Six enforcement actions involved Iraq Oil for Food conduct and these enforcement actions comprised 40% of all enforcement actions and approximately 50% of the $149 million amount.
TOTALS 198 $16.4 billion

*After accounting for various credits or deductions in certain enforcement actions for related foreign law enforcement actions

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