Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) dropped to five actions in fiscal year 2013 from 15 in fiscal 2012 and 20 in fiscal 2011. The SEC's fiscal year ends September 30.
At the same time, the agency's overall enforcement actions have resulted in a record $3.4 billion in monetary sanctions. This figure includes FCPA settlements ranging from a $4.5 million settlement with Koninklijke Philips Electronics to a $398 million settlement with French oil-and-gas firm Total S.A.
While the Department of Justice (DOJ) and SEC typically work together on corporate cases, the DOJ has also brought separate FCPA enforcement actions against individuals during this period. Additionally, the number of reported declinations — instances in which the agency chose to close an FCPA investigation and forego enforcement — continued to increase through 2013.
Nevertheless, 2013 yielded two of the top ten biggest settlements in FCPA history and saw the total amount of penalties assessed triple. FCPA compliance remains essential, with over 150 FCPA cases currently under investigation by the DOJ, the continued momentum of the SEC's Whistleblower Program and increased international cooperation.
Employee training is an integral part of FCPA compliance programs.