As we look back on 2021, several anti-corruption enforcement trends emerge. The following summarizes the key developments of the prior year and trends to watch in 2022:
- The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) brought 24 enforcement actions in 2021. Only three were against companies: Deutsche Bank, Amec Foster Wheeler, and Credit Suisse.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) brought four enforcement actions. In addition to Amec Foster Wheeler and Deutsche Bank, the SEC also brought actions against WPP plc and former Goldman Sachs executive Asante Berko.
- Sanctions in 2021 were much lower than the previous year. In 2020, sanctions were the highest they have ever been, topping $6.4 billion. In 2021, total sanctions were less than $300 million.
- As we discussed in our September blog post, “SEC Announces More Than $16 Million in Whistleblower Awards in August 2021,” the SEC announced multiple sizable whistleblower awards in 2021. In September 2021, the SEC announced that it had surpassed $1 billion in awards to 207 whistleblowers since 2012.
- As we discussed in our July blog post, “Biden Administration Plans Increased Enforcement of Compliance Issues,” in June 2021, President Biden issued a Memorandum on Establishing the Fight Against Corruption as a Core United States National Security Interest (the “Memo”). The Memo recognized the current Administration’s emphasis on curbing corruption domestically and abroad and set forth 10 goals to accomplish its strategy, many of which focus on coordination between domestic and international agencies. It also ordered 15 federal agencies, including the DOJ, to collaboratively submit a report to achieve the Administration’s goals.
Despite a decrease in the amount of FCPA sanctions in 2021, the DOJ continued to aggressively pursue enforcement actions, particularly against individuals. The Biden Administration also publicly affirmed its commitment to combat corruption domestically and abroad.
These developments signal that in 2022, the government will continue to work to combat corruption through coordinated efforts between numerous agencies domestically and abroad. We will continue to monitor these trends throughout 2022.
Heather Hatfield represents clients in corporate investigations, white-collar crime investigations and defense involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), complex contract disputes, oil and gas litigation ...
Blake Runions assists clients with broad range of business disputes and investigatory matters, including partnership disputes, internal investigations, and commercial litigation.
Prior to joining the Firm, Blake worked in the ...
Jamie Godsey represents public and private corporations, partnerships, and small companies on a broad range of complex business and commercial litigation. Her experience includes a wide variety of matters such as contractual ...
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- Anti-Corruption Enforcement: 2021 Year-In-Review
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