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White Collar Crime

Prison Time, Not Fines, Is Needed to Enforce Foreign Bribery Law, Specter Says

Posted Nov 30, 2010 5:03 PM CDT
By Rachel M. Zahorsky

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Multimillion-dollar criminal fines won’t deter corporate officials from bribing foreign officials to maintain or gain new business, says Sen. Arlen Specter (D., Pa.).

The senator’s statements stem from a critique on Tuesday of the Justice Department’s prosecution of about 50 individuals under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act since 2009, in which some of the most significant cases resulted in large fines but no individual prosecutions, reports the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).

Specter referenced the department’s 2008 $1.6 billion settlement between Siemens and U.S. and German authorities over widespread bribery charges.

"$1.6 billion is a lot of money, but not when you take a look at other figures involving Siemens," Specter said, after noting that the engineering giant posted revenue of more than $100 billion in 2008, the WSJ reports. "The only impact of matters of this sort is a jail sentence," he said.

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