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The Need For An FCPA Common Language – Visual Proof

visual proof

These pages have frequently highlighted the need for a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act common language as to the basic question of “what is an FCPA enforcement action?” (See here for the article “A Common Language to Remedy Distorted FCPA Enforcement Statistics” which exposes in detailed fashion distorted FCPA enforcement statistics).

As highlighted in the article, the absence of an FCPA common language has numerous negative effects including infecting nearly all FCPA enforcement statistics.

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. Using this approach, there were 27 corporate FCPA enforcement actions in 2016 that resulted in approximately $2.4 billion in net FCPA settlement amounts (see here).

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 above article, 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.

Regarding the DOJ, it recently released this document titled “Fraud Section Year in Review 2016” which highlights the following 2016 FCPA enforcement statistic: 13 corporate resolutions resulting in $1.3 billion in net corporate settlement amounts. These are the same numbers published in this post using the core approach.

Yet few FCPA Inc. participants use the core approach in publishing FCPA enforcement statistics. Moreover, the counting methods among FCPA Inc. participants vary widely and the numbers are literally all over the map.

It’s been said that a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Thus, this post concludes with 5,000 words – visual proof for the need for an FCPA common language – by highlighting 5 charts from 5 law firms regarding 2016 FCPA enforcement.

Gibson Dunn













Miller & Chevalier













Shearman & Sterling












Paul Weiss












Wilmer Hale

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