In 2020, the DOJ and SEC brought FCPA enforcement actions against 12 companies and imposed financial penalties totaling a record $6.4 billion. For a comparison, in 2019, 14 companies paid a (then) record $2.9 billion to resolve FCPA cases.
Goldman Sachs paid the largest FCPA penalty — $3.3 billion — in October. Cardinal Health paid the SEC $8.8 million to resolve FCPA offenses in China, the smallest penalty of the year.
Five FCPA settlements have now reached a billion dollars or more, and it takes at least $585 million to even appear in the current top ten. A detailed methodology of how we calculate FCPA settlement amounts is here.
Eight companies received declinations, including AstraZeneca plc. The UK-headquartered pharma giant disclosed in an SEC filing that in August 2020, the DOJ notified the company that “it does not intend to institute an enforcement action and is closing the inquiry.” In July 2018, AstraZeneca and other pharmas received “an inquiry” from the DOJ in connection with an FCPA investigation involving potential corruption in Iraq.
Six individuals were sentenced. Six individuals were indicted. Seven pleaded guilty.
Of the six individuals indicted — two women and four men — the average age was 56.3.
One individual, former Goldman Sachs banker Asante Berko, was charged by the SEC in a civil complaint with violating and aiding and abetting violations of the FCPA anti-bribery provisions. The SEC said he allegedly helped a Turkish energy company win a power plant contract in Ghana by arranging and paying bribes through an intermediary.
Lawrence Hoskins, a former senior vice president at Paris-based Alstom SA, was acquitted by the trial judge of one FCPA conspiracy count and six substantive FCPA counts after being found guilty by a jury in November 2019. Hoskins was the only FCPA acquittal in 2020. However, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison for his conviction on a money laundering conspiracy count, and three substantive money laundering counts.
Two FCPA defendants were granted new trials.