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ETHICS IS A GROWING BUSINESS ISSUE. You can barely open a newspaper today or turn on the TV without hearing something about yet another company paying the price for poor employee judgment, bad conduct or inadequate oversight. In a 24-hour news cycle world, nothing stays hidden for long – quite literally in the case of Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned oil company, whose multi-billion dollar corruption probe has even led to calls for a suspect to be exhumed.

The penalty for such misconduct is high. Back in 2008, German engineering giant Siemens made corporate history when it paid US$1.6 billion to settle charges of bribery across its global operations. That has since been dwarfed by banking fines in the US and UK: $1.9 billion to HSBC, $2.6 billion to Credit Suisse, and a monumental $8.9 billion to BNP Paribas. Their transgressions? Everything from mis-selling insurance and helping customers dodge tax to rigging forex markets and violating sanctions.
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Keywords: compliance; corporate responsibility; corruption; reputational risk; sustainability; values

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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