FCPA: 2020 Year-In-Review

As we look back on 2020, several FCPA enforcement trends emerge. The following summarizes the key statistics and developments in 2020:

  • The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) brought 29 enforcement actions in 2020. 7 companies entered into Deferred Prosecution Agreements, and the DOJ obtained 6 convictions, including one after trial (Donville Inniss).
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) brought 13 enforcement actions. Of those enforcement actions, three were brought against individuals (Joesley Batista and Wesley Batista and Asante Berko).
  • Sanctions in 2020 were the highest ever, topping $6.4 billion, which more than doubled the amount paid to the DOJ and SEC in the previous year. As we discussed in our November 2020 post, the largest FCPA settlement of all time totaling more $2.9 billion was paid to the DOJ and SEC by Goldman Sachs in October 2020.
  • As we discussed in our September 2020 post, the DOJ issued an opinion procedure for the first time since 2014 regarding what types of payments are permitted to be paid under the FCPA. Additionally, as we discussed in our July 2020 post, the DOJ also updated its guidance for the evaluation of corporate compliance programs in June 2020.

These statistics signal that in 2021, the government will continue to aggressively pursue FCPA violations, and the amount of overall sanctions will likely continue to climb. However, the DOJ’s guidance issued in 2020 indicates that the government is also focused on helping companies and individuals better understand how to comply with the requirements of the FCPA.

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