2022 Corruption Perceptions Index


Transparency International has released its annual ranking of corruption levels in countries around the world, with Scandinavia and New Zealand leading as usual while the United States place a rather underwhelming 24th. TI publishes its Corruption Perceptions Index at the start of every year, and the index has become a standard reference work that compliance…

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Musings on ‘Aggravating Circumstances’ 


Today I want to return to the Justice Department’s new policies meant to encourage more self-disclosure of corporate misconduct, even from companies whose violations include aggravating circumstances. Those policies are a welcome step forward, but they create just as many questions for compliance officers as they answer. Let’s first review what these new policies are.…

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Ye Olde CCO Certification Idea


Here’s an intriguing question about compliance officers certifying the effectiveness of their compliance programs: Could we trace this idea, at least partly, back to an FCPA opinion release the Justice Department published in 2020?  This notion came to me from a sharp-eyed compliance officer who was reading the opinion release the other day. It involved…

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New Sweeteners for Disclosure, Cooperation


The U.S. Justice Department is amending its Corporate Enforcement Policy, offering more incentives for companies to self-disclose misconduct even if their cases involve aggravating factors that might tempt those companies to keep quiet. Companies in that predicament might still be able to secure a declination to prosecute from the Justice Department if they (1) self-disclose…

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Honeywell Pays $160M on FCPA Case


Industrial manufacturing giant Honeywell International has agreed to pay $160 million to settle civil and criminal FCPA charges that the company bribed foreign government officials in Brazil and Algeria.  The case has lingered like a cloud over Honeywell’s head for years. The misconduct itself happened in the early 2010s, and Honeywell first disclosed more than…

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ABB: CCO Certification After All!


Well this is quite the plot twist: the chief compliance officer and the CEO for Swiss industrial giant ABB will indeed need to certify the effectiveness of ABB’s compliance program as part of the company’s FCPA settlement announced last week. That requirement was included in the company’s deferred-prosecution agreement, which the Justice Department did not…

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Analyzing ABB’s Third-Time FCPA Case


Swiss industrial giant ABB settled its third FCPA case on Friday, in an enforcement action that generally offers good news for compliance officers but still upends the assumptions we’ve made lately about recidivist offenders and the punishments they’ll face. ABB agreed to pay $460 million in civil and criminal penalties and accepted a three-year deferred…

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Lessons From Lafarge Terrorism Settlement


As you may have already heard, last week the Justice Department nailed French cement manufacturer Lafarge Corp. to the wall for paying protection money to terrorist organizations in Syria in the early 2010s. Don’t let the terrorism angle fool you; there are plenty of lessons here relevant for FCPA compliance professionals. The basics are as…

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Oracle Hit 2nd Time on FCPA Violations


The Securities and Exchange Commission has sanctioned Oracle for violations of the FCPA, the software giant’s second such incident in 10 years and one that provides a chance for the rest of us to talk about recidivist FCPA offenders.  What happened? In one sense, the usual. Throughout the 2010s, Oracle subsidiaries in India, Turkey, and…

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A Compliance Experiment in GIFs


Any compliance professional worth his or her salt knows that clever communication about ethics and compliance policies is crucial to winning over employees’ enthusiasm. So when a compliance officer (who shall remain anonymous) shared with me a prototype “anti-bribery compliance through GIFs” — well, that was too good not to publish.  Therefore we humbly submit…

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