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Was Daimler’s Deal Twice Delayed?

Friday we posted Bloomberg’s report that German company Daimler AG (manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks) will pay about $200 million to resolve a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation that began in 2004.

Why did the settlement take so long?

We’ve heard this explanation, which hasn’t been confirmed by the company or the Justice Department:

Daimler first reached agreement with the government at end of the Bush administration. Counsel advised Daimler to wait until the Obama administration came in, in order to get a better deal. Daimler waited but wasn’t able to improve on the terms and may have ended up with a harsher settlement.

The deal was originally brought to Judge Richard Leon at the federal district court in Washington, D.C. in August 2009. He took his time reviewing the terms (to Daimler’s disappointment) and ultimately wouldn’t give approval because it was not severe enough on the company. The government and Daimler revised the terms to meet Judge Leon’s concerns.

The deal calls for the appointment of a compliance monitor for three years. Former FBI director Louis Freeh’s name has been mentioned.

As we said, no one from the government or Daimler has confirmed this information.

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