According to lawyers and accountants involved in internal investigations, current and former government officials, and records of cases in which internal probes have played a role, the practice is widespread.
For the government, the approach is a way to save money and claim relatively easy victories, corporate lawyers say. For the companies under investigation, it is a way to win credit for cooperating, which can translate into lesser charges or lighter penalties. For the people who conduct the internal investigations — many of them former Justice and SEC employees — it is a big business. An ongoing investigation for Diebold, which makes ATMs, has cost the firm about $16 million, a company spokesman said. Avon has confirmed spending more than $130 million. And a global bribery probe performed for Siemens cost about $950 million, according to a company accounting. That was almost triple the $324 million annual budget of the SEC’s enforcement division when the case was resolved in December 2008.
‘Enforcement 40’ for 2020
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