Justice Dept. and SEC Allow Companies to Investigate Themselves

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
When it comes to investigating corporations of bribery and other crimes, the federal government prefers to save money—and allow suspects to conduct their own probes—than perform their own snooping from start to finish.
Whether the concern is foreign or domestic corruption by U.S. companies, the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission have increasingly allowed corporations to hire teams of lawyers and accountants to interview employees, gather electronic records and sift through documents, according to The Washington Post. Then, federal investigators review the results and decide whether to step in and probe the situation themselves or if they should indict anyone.
For corporations, conducting the internal investigations is not cheap. Diebold, which makes ATMs, spent $16 million, Avon more than $130 million and Siemens about $950 million. However, if the Siemens figure seems impressive, it is worth noting that it was still cost-effective for the company. In addition to the $950 million, Siemens paid fines of $800 million. But the $1.7 billion total was still less than the $2.7 billion that it could have been fined for bribing foreign officials. And not a single Siemens executive or employee had been prosecuted by the Justice Department.
Does allowing the fox to count the chickens produce honest and thorough assessments? No one can be certain. The Justice Department insists it does not take companies at their word. But a former federal prosecutor told The Washington Post that “other than integrity” there is “very little” to guarantee that internal probes won’t omit evidence of wrongdoing.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


Tom Lowe 9 years ago
in other words, siemens was allowed to continue to do business after being caught handing out bribes. is anyone going to be surprised when the western economy collapses and dies? i certainly hope not. the article illustrates clearly that usa will not prosecute corporate crime. siemens also acted as the front company for stuxnet installation. on these, all roads lead back to racist war criminals in israel. if i were king of the world, siemens leaders would all be in prison.

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