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Are anti-bribery experts focusing on the wrong numbers?

Severin Wirz | March 10, 2016

For years, the bellwether in the anti-corruption bar has been the annual FCPA enforcement statistics for the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Every December, lawyers and commentators partake in the traditional dissecting of the numbers—not just the quantity of cases brought, but the fines levied and the kinds of penalties imposed. And so it came to be that 2015 was declared the year of the dearth. The Justice Department had only settled cases with two companies (two!), collecting a mere $24.2 million in penalties, which, as the New York Times was quick to point out, marked a sharp decline from 2014, when the agency brought 10 corporate enforcement actions and collected a more respectable $1.25 billion. That fact was repeated by many in the FCPA bar and was said to be “the most...

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