Yesterday, the SEC announced that KBR and Halliburton have settled their Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case with the SEC and Department of Justice for total fines and disgorgement of $579 million. The underlying bribes apparently totalled far less: a mere $5 million paid to a Nigerian political party for a train contract.
At this point, a voice inside my head keeps screaming, “What about Madoff?!” The FCPA violation alleged here is essentially a victimless crime, functionally a penny-ante “bailout” of a few Nigerians that actually helped the companies’ shareholders. Yet, this SEC complaint is undersigned by no fewer than six SEC attorneys who, judging from the factual timeline, were busily engaged on this case — together with uncounted DOJ counterparts — over at least the past five years while Bernie Madoff made off with $30-50 billion belonging to investors. Continue reading