Justice Bribe Probes Often Rely on Companies' Own Data

Monday, 23 May 2011 03:22 PM

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Justice Department probes into companies suspected of paying overseas bribes often rely on the businesses’ own internal investigations. The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have taken the step because of the cost of such investigations, The Washington Post reported.

Various sources report that the practice is widespread and can result in a situation where the private lawyers who have conducted the investigation later end up representing the firm in negotiations over charges and penalties. Nonetheless, the government ends up saving money and scoring an easy win and the companies get credit for cooperating, the Post reported.

Those who conduct the investigations can be former Justice and SEC employees. One investigation involving the Diebold company has cost $16 million so far, while a probe for Siemens cost $950 million, the Post reported.

Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said a private investigation is “a very important tool that we use to leverage the resources we have to be as efficient and as effective as we can.”

Government officials do not just take companies’ word in the investigations but “test and probe” the evidence, Breuer told the Post.

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