A rare example of the punishment being worse than the alleged crime: Aon has agreed to pay more than $16 million to settle charges that it bribed foreign bureaucrats to secure $11 million in insurance business.
From 1983 to 2007 the insurance brokerage firm spent over $3 million to win the interest of potential clients from overseas, the SEC says.
Some of the money went into funds designated to pay for "education and training" for foreign nationals, while other bureaucrats got free trips to tourist spots like Cairo and London.
In all, Aon seems to have earned $11 million on its $3 million "investment."
This settlement means the company now has to pay the SEC $14.5 million and the Justice Department another $1.75 million.
After so many cases where the settlement barely dented the profit that big financial firms have earned for behaving badly, this one may finally act as a real deterrent.