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The Rise of Multinational FCPA Criminal Prosecutions: First Ever Coordinated French and U.S. Action

On May 29, 2013, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) joined with French enforcement authorities to announce charges against French-based oil and gas company Total S.A. The SEC entered into a cease-and-desist order against Total, wherein Total agreed to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest of $153 million. The DOJ filed a criminal information against Total, but promised to dismiss the case if Total behaved for the next three years. This is known as a deferred prosecution agreement. The price tag for the settlement was an additional $245.2 million. According to the DOJ, “French enforcement authorities announced earlier today that they had requested that Total, Total’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and two additional individuals be referred to the Criminal Court for violations of French law, including France’s foreign bribery law.” The alleged conduct in this case is egregious, requiring little comment or insight. U.S. authorities stated:

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