"Former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney In 2009, Halliburton agreed to pay $559 million to settle charges that a former unit had bribed Nigerian officials while building a gas plant. German engineering firm Siemens has coughed up the largest settlement so far, paying $800 million in 2008 to put to rest allegations over the company's pervasive use of bribes in its global operations.
But thanks to the the paper's damning investigation into Walmart's cover-up of bribery at its Mexican subsidiary, this low-key statute is suddenly getting its turn in the spotlight.
The statute, generally referred to as the FCPA, was passed in 1977 and bans individuals and companies from bribing foreign government officials to win business or influence their decision making. Those who run afoul of the law can face large fines or prison time. For decades after it was enacted, it was barely used. But in the last five years, it has evolved from an obscure vestige of the post-Watergate era into into one of the most talked about and feared laws in America's board rooms.