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33 years of non compliance.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) from 1977 continues to be a cash cow. Companies settling FCPA-related charges in 2010 paid a record $1.8 billion in financial penalties to the DOJ and SEC. That compares with $641 million in 2009 and $890 million in 2008. Isn't it about time that the lax corporate control environment is replaced by good governance, risk management and internal controls that detect non compliance?

The USA Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission continue to settle their massive bribery investigation. Recently a fine of 137musd was given to the Paris-based telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent and three of its subsidiaries (settlement).

Alcatel-Lucent violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to foreign government officials to win business in Latin America and Asia. According to the SEC's complaint, Alcatel's bribes went to government officials in Costa Rica, Honduras, Malaysia, and Taiwan between December 2001 and June 2006.

The Justice Department has currently more than 150 ongoing FCPA investigations and prosecutions. There will be plenty of surprises in 2011 because the SEC is hearing from a new FCPA whistleblower every day.

With the new UK Bribery Act, which according to most experts is even more stricter than the FCPA, the European corporations will provide additional focus to get their act to combat corruption and related issues together.

The current top ten FCPA-related settlements of all time are:
  1. Siemens (Germany): $800 million in 2008.
  2. KBR / Halliburton (USA): $579 million in 2009.
  3. BAE (UK): $400 million in 2010.
  4. Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V. / ENI S.p.A (Holland/Italy): $365 million in 2010.
  5. Technip S.A. (France): $338 million in 2010.
  6. Daimler AG (Germany): $185 million in 2010.
  7. Panalpina (Switzerland): $81.8 million in 2010.
  8. ABB Ltd (Switzerland): $58.3 million in 2010.
  9. Pride (USA): $56.1 million in 2010.
  10. Shell (UK/Holland): $48.1 million in 2010.