Lack of Training and Due Diligence Leads to $19 Million Penalty for Hitachi

Japanese conglomerate Hitachi has agreed to pay $19 million to resolve the SEC’s claims that it bribed foreign officials to obtain contracts related to two multi-billion dollar construction projects in South Africa.  The settlement highlights the risks companies face when working with local partners and the necessity of thorough, well-documented due diligence and in-country compliance training programs.  Experts also told the Anti-Corruption Report that the settlement raises questions as to what level of “corruption” is necessary to incur an FCPA violation and why, in light of other recent SEC actions, cases with similar fact patterns can have wildly divergent outcomes.  See “Top FCPA Officials Talk Compliance Tips and the Defense Bar Weighs In” (Dec. 17, 2014).

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