Foreign Bribery Enforcement on Track for Record-Breaking Year

According to the official, despite the problems with the coronavirus, the U.S. Department of Justice managed to pass an important anti-corruption law.

Authorities in the United States and other countries have taxed around $7.76 billion this year. The deputy attorney general’s office has been fined $1 million for corruption offences against foreigners worldwide.

Brian Rabbit

The Department of Corrections reported on Thursday during a conference on the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Last year, around $2.83 billion in fines were imposed worldwide.

A significant proportion of these fines have been paid to foreign colleagues in the UK, France and elsewhere, as they increasingly apply their own anti-corruption laws to protect public order in multinational companies that pay bribes abroad to gain business advantage, indicating a trend towards more international cooperation.

According to various calculations, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which also enforces the FCPA, have already set a record for FCPA fines in the United States this year. The previous watermark was applied in 2019.

Deputy Attorney General Brian Rabbit, Criminal Investigation Department, Ministry of Justice.


U.S. Department of Justice

According to Rabbit, approximately USD 3.21 billion of all fines imposed worldwide have been paid. The Department of Justice alone has imposed nearly $2.25 billion in criminal penalties for FCPA cases, up from $1.62 billion in 2019, he said.

It is no exaggeration to say that the work of the Criminal Investigation Division in 2020 was historic, both in terms of what we have achieved and the circumstances in which we did it, said Rabbitt in the virtual edition of the annual FCPA conference of the American Institute of Conferences.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused problems for government investigations by delaying or interrupting travel and conducting confidential interviews with witnesses and investigative subjects that the prosecution may prefer to conduct in person.

Shortly after the Rabbit’s speech, the attorney general’s office added another company agreement to its dashboard and signed a $135 million deferred execution agreement with Swiss energy trader Vitol.

The agreement was reached with the Brazilian authorities and was initially submitted to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates derivatives trading in the United States and imposed additional fines and contempt of court for an amount of USD 28 million. This is the eighth corporate resolution of the FCPA adopted by the Ministry of Justice this year.

This year, the total amount of sanctions related to blockbuster cases against the aircraft manufacturer has been increased.

Airbus SE

Investment firm

The Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

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Airbus reached €3.6 billion, the equivalent of $4.4 billion, in January by concluding an agreement with the US, UK and French prosecutors to clarify allegations of corruption and export control violations against the aircraft manufacturer.

Goldman Sachs agreed in October to pay $2.9 billion to officials in four countries to investigate its relations with Malaysia’s 1MDB for a year.

This year, the Foreign Anti-Corruption Unit also scored one of the highest in the field of indictments against foreign directors, intermediaries and officials. So far, prosecutors have indicted 29 people in FCPA-related cases, the third highest number for the calendar year according to Rabbit.

Write to Dylan Tokar at [email protected].

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