SEC Flexes Bigger FCPA Muscles In $25M BHP Billiton Case

By Stephanie Russell-Kraft (May 22, 2015, 1:32 PM EDT) -- When it charged BHP Billiton Ltd. $25 million for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sent a powerful message to corporations that it's willing to impose hefty fines for compliance failures even when no bribery is alleged to have taken place.

According to a settlement announced Wednesday, the Australia-based resources company violated internal controls and books and records provisions of the FCPA when it paid for dozens of government officials to attend the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. What distinguishes the deal from past FCPA actions is that the company was not asked to disgorge...

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