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Harry Cassin
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Here’s proof the era of global enforcement is upon us

Let’s go straight to some news from beyond America’s shores during the past year.

SBM Offshore paid $240 million to Dutch authorities to settle allegations that it bribed government officials in Angola, Brazil, and Equatorial Guinea.

An oil and gas services firm based in Scotland, International Tubular Services, was fined £170,000 ($267,000) by the Scotland’s prosecution service. The company admitted that a former Kazakhstan-based employee paid bribes there to win work.

German auto parts maker and defense contractor Rheinmetall AG said a subsidiary agreed to pay a fine of €37 million ($46 million) to resolve a criminal investigation of alleged bribes in connection with arms sales in Greece. The case was brought by the senior prosecutor in the German city of Bremen.

Norway’s Yara International was fined $48 million by Norwegian authorities for paying $12 million in bribes between 2004 and 2009. The world’s biggest fertiliser firm admitted bribing senior government officials in Russia, India, and Libya, including an oil minister of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

In the Netherlands, KPMG reached a €7 million ($7.9 million) settlement with Dutch authorities. KPMG allegedly helped their client, Dutch construction company Ballast Nedam, disguise suspicious payments.

(Ballast Nedam itself settled with Dutch authorities in 2012 for €17.5 million ($20 million) for suspicious payments to foreign agents in order to obtain business in Saudi Arabia.)

Norway’s anti-corruption agency filed criminal charges against defense and technology firm Kongsberg Gruppen. The charges related to deliveries of communication equipment to Romania from 1999 to 2008, the company said.

German truck and diesel engine maker MAN AG said it paid €250 million ($344 million) in fines and penalties and investigation costs for a bribery scandal.

Just last week, Canadian engineering and construction giant SNCLavalin said the company and two subsidiaries were charged with criminal corruption and fraud for bribes in Libya.

And last year in China, a court fined UK pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline $490 million following a conviction for bribery.

*     *     *

That’s a sampling of anti-corruption enforcement actions against companies outside the United States during the past year.

Coming up: Global enforcement also targets individuals.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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  1. Let's not be naive here. The only thing that this is a proof of is that corruption is rampant and well worth it. The only thing they juggle is the shareholders' money. And only if they get caught. All in all, they risk nothing. Yet gain so much.

    At the end of the day, all this so-called enforcement is nothing more than a taxation of bribery. Prove me wrong.

  2. There is another dimension of this ''global enforcement'' which I believe is worth mentioning : the domino effect of some cross borders investigations. A relevant example is Microsoft and the related tsunami among the top rang politicians in Romania. Every day since the Microsoft scandal emerged in the media, we see more and more allegations against the ''untouchable'' elite, sophisticated (but in a way classic) bribery and money laundering schemes ,etc,etc.

    This is leading to a simple and common sense conclusion : without the ''global'' approach , this would never have happened !

    Dan Nicorici – independent ABC Compliance Advisor,Romania

  3. Things are happening, however, is this enough to lead to a better and relatively ethical society? The answer is clear No. It may seem enough to some because of more visibility now a days as compared to a decade ago. What we see around us is clear indication that the intensity and velocity of unethical practices has increased manifold but the counter measures and enforcement is moving at snail pace. Another dimension we all know is the lack of political will to eradicate unethical practices, internally as well as externally. The answer is that politicians need to “Do More” on this front.

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