Barry Pollack was quoted regarding the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) 2014 corporate FCPA settlements, which have been filed as administrative proceedings. The SEC has been turning to administrative proceedings to avoid some of the problems it has experienced in federal court, Pollack said. "There is no question that the recent level of scrutiny by federal courts of SEC settlements has made the agency more cautious about where to file them," he said. "SEC judges will typically give more deference to the SEC than a fully independent federal court."
Pollack added that companies normally agree on settlements when it is in their best interest to do so. "It is less likely those terms will be rejected if it is filed as an administrative proceeding, which means less risk," he said, explaining that in the rare instances where a federal judge rejects a settlement it is more likely that the proposed penalty was seen as too lenient.