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Fox's Top Ten For 2011, Corporate Division

As December is a time for reflection on the past twelve months, I have been considering the FCPA Enforcement Action year.

I submit for your consideration my Top 10 FCPA Enforcement Actions for 2011 in the Corporate Division.

Happy Holidays to all!

1.  Alcatel-Lucent ($137 million), or non-cooperation will cost you. -- The company lost between $10 million to $20 million in penalty reduction because its initial investigative counsel did not fully cooperate with the DOJ after self-disclosure.

2. Armor Holdings ($10.29 million), or you can step back from the abyss. -- The company had 92 separate instances of disguising bribes yet was able to obtain a NPA, through self-disclose, cleaning house, remediation and implementing a best practices compliance program.

3. Bridgestone ($28 million), don’t double down a FCPA violation by adding anti-trust violations. -- The company was found to have engaged in both bribery of foreign officials but using such corrupt acts in furtherance of bid-rigging.

4. JGC ($218.8 million), and then there were none. -- The final corporate conclusion of the infamous Bonny Island, Nigeria Bribery Scandal. Joining with previously settled defendants, Halliburton, Technip and Snamprogetti/ENI to bring a total settlement amount of over $1.5 billion.

5.  Johnson & Johnson ($77 million), enhanced compliance obligations, the new normal?-- Not only did J&J agree to implement a minimum best practices compliance program, it also agreed to “enhanced compliance obligations”.

6. Maxwell Technologies ($14.3 million), start your day with a risk assessment. -- One of several cases where the DOJ specified some of the parameters of the risks you should assess to inform your compliance program.

7.  SciClone ($2.5 million to date), or the plaintiff’s bar finds compliance. -- Not an enforcement action but the settlement of a shareholder derivative action during the pendency of a FCPA investigation, where the company agreed to implement a best practices compliance program.

8.  Tenaris ($8.9 million), or the SEC joins the DPA party. -- The first instance of the SEC entering into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement for the settlement of civil FCPA violations.

9.  Tyson’s Foods ($5.2 million) or don’t blame me, I only bribed the wife. -- The company received a DPA for a bribery scheme involving payments for Mexican government officials' wives.

10.  Watts Water ($3.7 million), or it is a good thing to keep up with the news. -- The company’s general counsel read about an enforcement action involving a non-related company in a different industry but with the same sales model as his company and wondered if it might be a FCPA problem for his company. It was.


Thomas Fox is the creator and writer of the widely-read FCPA Compliance and Ethics Blog. He has practiced law in Houston for 25 years. Tom writes and speaks nationally and internationally on FCPA compliance, indemnities and other forms of risk management for a worldwide energy practice, tax issues faced by multi-national U.S. companies, insurance coverage issues, and protection of trade secrets. He can be contacted here.

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