Enforcement of the 40-year-old U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) has significantly increased over the past few years, according to an FCPA Enforcement Trends Report by Steele Compliance Solutions, Inc. Enforcement actions by the DOJ and FCPA have increased by 44% from 2015 to 2016. Between 2006 and 2016, 205 enforcement actions were filed by the DOJ and 157 by the SEC. This trend reflects investments in enforcement – in recent years, the DOJ has increased prosecutors and agents dedicated to FCPA enforcement and hired a full-time compliance program expert.
Sanctions from enforcement transactions over the 40 year span of the FCPA have totaled $9,100,604,821, with a vast majority of that amount (over $8.9 billion) stemming from the past ten years. In 2016 alone, the government levied $1.8 billion in sanctions, for an average of $78,965,385 per enforcement action.
The Steele report also highlights returns from the DOJ pilot program, an effort to encourage self-disclosure, cooperation and remediation. The report notes that between 2007 and 2016, companies that self-reported paid an average of $34 million in sanctions, whereas those that did not self-report paid more than $107 million on average.
In terms of where the bribes are most often paid, the report stated that of the 66 countries connected to allegations of bribery in 2016, China rated highest at 26%. The overall top three countries associated with FCPA investigations by the US government were China, Nigeria and Iraq.
Steele also reports that individual prosecutions are on the rise, with more than 65 individuals convicted of FCPA-related offenses in the past seven years. However, 2016 marked a year with the lowest number of individuals pursued – nine – since 2005, when five individuals were targeted by the US government.
While government anti-corruption legislation can be ambiguous, Steele suggests that companies adopt data-driven compliance best practices and roll-out compliance programs that will champion controls and accountability throughout the organization.
Read the full Report here.