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Julie DiMauro
Contributing Editor

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The three biggest corporate enforcement actions for each decade of the FCPA

The FCPA has now been with us during four complete decades and two partial decades, and measuring corporate enforcement by looking at the three biggest cases of each decade tells quite a story.

There’s the shift from enforcement against U.S. companies to foreign ones. That followed decades when U.S. business leaders complained that the FCPA put them at a disadvantage against foreign competitors who didn’t have FCPA compliance to worry about.

And there’s the stunning growth in FCPA penalties.

In the 1990’s, companies could measure FCPA risk in single-digit millions or low tens of millions at most. By the 2000’s, FCPA risk jumped to hundreds of millions and in the 2010’s to a billion or more (much more, as early returns for the 2020’s show).

Based on data from FCPA Blog+, here are the top three FCPA corporate enforcement actions by decade:

2020’s
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (United States) $3.3 billion in 2020

Airbus Group SE (Netherlands) $2.09 billion in 2020

Glencore plc (Switzerland) $700 million in 2022

 

2010’s
Petrobras (Brazil) $1.78 billion in 2018

Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (Sweden) $1.06 billion in 2019

Telia Company AB (Sweden) $1.01 billion in 2017

 

2000’s
Siemens AG (Germany) $798 million in 2008

Kellogg Brown & Root LLC / Halliburton Company (United States) $579 million in 2009

Tyco International Ltd. (United States) $50 million in 2006

 

1990’s
Lockheed Corporation (United States) $24.8 million in 1994

Saybolt Inc. (United States) $4.9 million in 1998

Young & Rubicam, Inc. (United States) $500,000 in 1990

 

1980’s
Crawford Enterprises, Inc. (United States) $3.45 million in 1982

Napco International, Inc. (United States) $1 million in 1989

Ruston Gas Turbines, Inc. (United States) $750,000 in 1982

 

1970’s
Kenny International Corp. (United States) $50,000 in 1979

International Systems & Controls Corporation (United States) $0 in 1979

Page Airways, Inc. (United States) $0 in 1978

 

Some final thoughts.

The FCPA became law in December 1977. There were a total of four corporate enforcement actions in 1978 and 1979, but only one resulted in financial penalties against the accused company.

The first seven-figure FCPA enforcement action was Crawford Enterprises in 1982.

The first non-U.S. company on the list was Siemens AG in 2008.

Siemens still appears on the FCPA Blog top ten list, along with six other companies named above.

Twelve of the 18 companies on the above list are U.S.-based. Two are from Sweden, and one each from Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, and the Netherlands.

Totaling the financial penalties for the top three corporate enforcement actions by decade, the amounts are $6.1 billion in the 2020’s (so far), $3.85 billion in 2010’s, $1.42 billion in 2000’s, $30 million in 1990’s, $5.2 million in 1980’s, and $50,000 in the 1970’s.

Sortable data about every FCPA corporate enforcement action is available at FCPA Blog+.

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