Big players, big fines: Corporates spend billions to settle

Agence France-Presse

After European aerospace giant Airbus agreed to pay 3.6 billion euros ($4 billion) to Britain, France and the United States to settle a corruption probe, here are examples of other mega companies that have done the same.

– Odebrecht –
In 2016 the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht and its petrochemicals subsidiary Braskem, mired in Latin America’s sprawling Petrobras scandal, agreed to pay $3.5 billion to settle a vast international bribery case.

The fines to the Brazilian, Swiss and US authorities — $2.6 billion for Odebrecht and $957 million for Braskem — were described by the US Justice Department as the “largest-ever global foreign bribery resolution.”

Petrobras itself was also forced to pay $853 million in 2018 to US and Brazilian authorities.

– Societe Generale –
In 2018 France’s second biggest bank Societe Generale agreed to pay $1.34 billion to resolve cases in the United States and France over its alleged manipulation of Libor interbank rates.

It paid a total of $860 million to the US Justice Department of which $585 million was to settle enquiries into its dealings between 2004 and 2009 with the regime of slain Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

– Goldman Sachs –
In January 2020 US investment bank Goldman Sachs indicated it had set aside $1.24 billion in anticipation of settlements in the 1MDB Malaysian investment fund scandal, in which some of its ex high officials had allegedly been involved.

The bank had helped raise $6.5 billion for the now defunct Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, getting $600 million in commission.

The money raised is alleged to have gone to the disgraced former Malaysian leader Najib Razak to finance a life of luxury for him and his family, according to the US and Malaysian authorities. Razak has denied any wrongdoing.

– Ericsson –
In December 2019 Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson accepted to pay $1 billion as part of an amicable settlement with the US Justice Department which had accused it of bribery spanning five countries.

“Ericsson’s corrupt conduct involved high-level executives and spanned 17 years and at least five countries, all in a misguided effort to increase profits,” Brian Benczkowski, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said.

The group paid $520 million under an accord with the department and $540 million to the stock exchange watchdog.

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