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Public Firms Usually Settle Foreign Bribery Charges

As appeared in USA Today

May 3, 2012

When faced with the news that their employees may have bribed foreign government officials to help get contracts, many publicly traded corporations seem almost resigned to negotiating a settlement and paying a fine so they can move on.

According to Partner Amy Conway-Hatcher, a former federal prosecutor who heads the White-Collar Litigation & Investigations practice for Kaye Scholer in Washington, DC, "The companies that actually fight the Justice Department or the Securities and Exchange Commission are pretty few and far between. You usually see corporate settlements arise out of this."

“Income from such settlements represents somewhat of a nice cottage industry for the government,” Conway-Hatcher added.

The question for companies is "how far do you have to go" to detect and correct potential violations of the anti-corruption law, Conway-Hatcher said. "What's enough, in the government's eyes? And that's not always clear. To a certain extent … companies sometimes feel a little bit like sitting ducks."

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