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Government investigations of companies typically end in settlements. These may be civil in nature, in which companies commonly agree to pay money and take remedial measures to deter and prevent the misconduct that the government alleges occurred. Settlements may also be criminal in nature—either agreements not to prosecute the company (deferred or non-prosecution agreements), or a guilty plea pursuant to an agreement negotiated with the prosecutor. Even when company leaders believe the government’s contentions are wrong, the costs and risks of a fight with the government, particularly for a public company, usually lead to a resolution short of litigation, and certainly short of trial.

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