The Department of Justice reports that a company based in Switzerland will pay more than $661 million after pleading guilty to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This amount includes a criminal monetary penalty of $374.6 million and forfeiture of $287.1 million in ill-gotten gains.

A DOJ press release states that between 2012 and 2020 the company and its co-conspirators paid more than $97 million to intermediaries knowing that some of the money would be and in fact was used to bribe Ecuadorean officials. In exchange, those officials helped various state-owned entities acting as front companies for the Swiss company to win the rights to a series of loan contracts with Ecuador’s state-owned oil company. The bribe payments were routed through banks in the U.S. using shell companies in Panama and the British Virgin Islands controlled by the company’s co-conspirators.

According to the press release, the company received credit for cooperating with the DOJ’s investigation and engaging in timely and appropriate remedial measures, including (1) enhancing its third party due-diligence process, (2) enhancing the independent compliance committee with responsibility for reviewing high-risk transactions, (3) engaging resources to review its compliance program and test the effectiveness of its overall reporting process, and (4) testing and enhancing its compliance program, including by conducting compliance culture reviews, testing new third-party due diligence process and payment controls, and evaluating controls around business development activities.

However, the DOJ also considered the company’s history of misconduct, which included a previous resolution of a similar scheme in which the company admitted that it lacked sufficient controls to prevent bribery and had failed to take all the reasonable organizational measures required to prevent its employees and agents from engaging in bribery.

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