Companies can spend millions investigating whether their executives have bribed overseas officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and most of that money goes to law firms and others hired to conduct the investigations. An article in the Wall Street Journal estimates that FCPA investigations at just three companies—Avon Products, Weatherford International and Wal-Mart Stores—cost a total of $456 million.

The Journal says that more than 100 companies are currently under investigation for FCPA violations.

Siemens, which settled FCPA allegations for $800 million, employed more than 300 lawyers, accountants and support staff from the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton and the accounting firm Deloitte during its two-year internal probe, racking up a total of 1.5 million billable hours.


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For previous coverage of this issue, see Many Firms Loath to Report Bribery and Probe Exposes Wal-Mart to Fines,