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The Biggest Corporate Bribery Scandals, Caught in the Corruption Net



The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) has been around since 1977, but the five biggest cases under that law, which prohibits bribing foreign officials, have been settled in the last four years. While the U.S. Department of Justice has cranked up FCPA enforcement, there is no data that shows the effort has reduced global corruption.

The effort may only make U.S. companies more uncompetitive against companies from China, Russia and France. What is certain: The FCPA boom has made lots of lawyers richer and produced some big headlines. There will be more companies joining the big fish that have already been caught in the corruption net--the feds have 150 open FCPA cases, and the next corporate targets facing big criminal settlements are an open secret.
  1. Siemens pleaded guilty in 2008 for massive worldwide bribery and paid $800 million in fines in the U.S.
  2. KBR/Halliburton KBR unit pleaded guilty in 2009 to bribing Nigerian officials; KBR and its former parent, Halliburton (HAL - news - people),
  3. BAE Systems Pleaded guilty in March; paid $400 million for making false statements about FCPA compliance in connection with weapons sales.
  4. Daimler Two units pleaded guilty in April for bribing officials in countries like China and Russia; paid $185 million in penalties.
  5. Baker Hughes A unit pleaded guilty in 2007 for paying bribes in Kazakhstan; paid $44 million in fines.