On April 1, 2010, German auto manufacturer Daimler AG (Daimler) and three of its subsidiaries settled Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) charges in Washington's U.S. District Court.
The complaint filed against Daimler alleged that from 1998 to 2008 the company bribed foreign officials in 22 countries, including Russia, Iraq and China, to secure business. According to the settlement agreement, Daimler acknowledged its FCPA violations and entered into a two-year deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department. As agreed, Daimler must disgorge $91.4 million in profits to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and pay a $93.6 million fine to the Justice Department, for a total of $185 million in combined criminal and civil penalties.
Federal sentencing guidelines call for a larger fine, but the Justice Department decided to reduce the penalty following Daimler's cooperation with the government. As part of its deferred prosecution agreement, Daimler agreed to retain an independent compliance monitor for three years to oversee its implementation of a compliance program.