The Justice Department is going after individual executives suspected of foreign bribery with new zeal, while also working with investigators in other countries to root out global fraud on a broad scale, according to Mythili Raman, acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division.
Raman, a featured speaker at a legal education conference in Washington, D.C., today, rattled off a string of statistics to demonstrate the department’s increased focus on anti-corruption in recent years. Since 2009, she noted, Justice has entered into more than 40 corporate resolutions, securing some $2.5 billion in fines. Since 2005, nearly three dozen companies have pleaded guilty to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. And more than three dozen individuals have been convicted of participating in foreign bribery schemes since 2009.
“We are now – more than ever – holding individual wrongdoers to account,” she said.
Raman emphasized the importance of focusing on individuals in terms of determent.
“By redoubling our commitment to bring to justice those individuals who bribe for business,” she said, “we are sending an unmistakable message to corporate executives around the world – if you engage in corrupt conduct, you should be prepared to face very real consequences, including jail time.”
Raman also highlighted a few corporate cases — including the investigation into French oil and gas company Total SA, with which the department announced a deferred prosecution agreement late last month.
The first instance of coordination between U.S. and French authorities in a foreign bribery investigation, the Total case demonstrated “the development of stronger anti-bribery enforcement programs in foreign countries, the continuing and encouraging rise in cross-border cooperation, and the increasing efforts of our foreign law enforcement partners to hold individual perpetrators accountable,” Raman said.
Raman recounted a conference this February held by Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the FBI as she spoke of a new era of international cooperation on bribery cases. Roughly 130 regulators, judges, investigators and prosecutors from over 30 countries attended the event.
“Needless to say, we were able to advance a number of specific prosecutions through that meeting,” Raman said, “and, as important, forge new bonds with an entire generation of prosecutors dedicated to combating global corruption.”
Raman spoke at the Global Anti-Corruption Congress hosted by a new for-profit events company, Momentum Event Group.