The costliest conflict-of-interest cases ever?

The FCPA Blog keeps a list of the costliest FCPA cases in history. Doing something similar for COIs is a bit more of a challenge given that COIs can impact many areas of the law. Still, a COI blog should try to take a stab at developing such a list.

Near the top of a costliest COI list would be some of the prosecutions of pharma companies for making payments to health care providers that caused the latter to have COIs with their patients.  These cases included the two largest fines in the history of US criminal law – against Pfizer and Eli Lilly ($1.2 billion and $515 million, respectively) on top of other penalties. (E.g., the Pfizer total was $2.3 billion – a record that is soon to be eclipsed in a case against another pharma company, GSK .)  Also near the top would be the prosecution of Boeing in connection employment-related contacts with an Air Force procurement officer in which the company paid a $615 million settlement (most of which was a civil penalty) and suffered the loss of business of many times that amount.

Other big ticket settlements have involved purely civil cases stemming from third-party payments that were undisclosed or insufficiently disclosed to clients in the insurance brokerage industry which cost Marsh $850 million and Aon $190 million.  And from a different corner of  the financial world, Goldman Sachs’ $550 million fine paid to the SEC in 2010 would also be high up on the list,  as would  the 1.4 billion dollars total paid in settlements by a number of investment banks in 2003 in connection with the COIs involving research analysts.

And, as the Boeing case shows, COI costs can also include substantial amounts of lost business.  Similarly in this respect is the Wal-Mart/ad agency case, discussed previously in the Blog.

Finally, note that I exclude FCPA cases because, although they do involve COIs, their costs are already well chronicled in the FCPA Blog.

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