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In 2012, eight companies paid the Securities and Exchange Commission over $118 million to settle civil suits under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. That’s an average of nearly $15 million per company, a dollar amount that your company would likely prefer to keep in its bank account. If it’s any consolation to a company facing the prospects of such a payment, three recent SEC lawsuits offer some insights into an age-old protection for defendants: the statute of limitations.

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