The FCPA Blog, one of the biggest sources of misinformation in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act space, is at it again.
This post asserts: “So far this year, seven companies have paid a total of $2.6 billion in FCPA settlements, already making it the third largest year for financial penalties.”
As highlighted below, there are three false statements in this short sentence.
First, thus far in 2020 seven companies have paid a total of approximately $840 million in FCPA settlements. In short, the FCPA Blog overstates the amount companies “have paid in FCPA settlements” by 102% – hardly a rounding error.
Second, thus far 2020 is not the third largest year in FCPA settlements. If the year ended today (which of course it does not) $840 million would be the 8th largest in terms of corporate settlement amounts (see here).
Third, suggesting that FCPA settlements are “financial penalties” is not accurate because a meaningful percentage of FCPA settlement amounts (including a very high percentage of SEC settlement amounts) represent disgorgement and prejudgment interest. For instance of the $840 million in corporate settlement amounts thus far in 2020, approximately $250 million represents disgorgement and prejudgment interest.
In short, facts matter.
FCPA enforcement thus far in 2020 is not nearly as vibrant as the FCPA Blog suggests.