In February Smith & Nephew, a UK-based medical supplies company, paid $22m to settle charges that it had made "illicit payments to public doctors employed by government hospitals or agencies in Greece". S&N was hit by an FCPA action because it consolidated its accounts with its Memphis-based US subsidiary.
Last April, New York-based Comverse Technology settled charges that it had violated the FCPA's books and records and internal controls provisions for payments made thorough an Israeli subsidiary.
Koehler said the majority of FCPA cases were now being brought on books and record-keeping, as they were easier to prove. "The allegation that the subsidiaries' problematic books and records were consolidated with the parent company issuer's books and records for purposes of financial reporting is made in nearly every SEC FCPA enforcement action," he said.
FCPA experts said investigators would be looking for any similar evidence of payments that could violate FCPA rules in other News Corp markets like Australia.
MacDougall said the investigations could also have ramifications for News Corp in the US. "If any of this decision-making was made in the US, or if information flowed into the US outlets then that significantly increases exposure for those involved," he said.
MacDougall said that there were a variety of statutes under US law that prosecutors could consider should they find direct US involvement in the case. "US prosecutors powers are very broad, and necessarily so," he said.
But no case is likely to be brought against the firm soon. Koehler said typically it takes two to four years before the US authorities feel they have thoroughly exhausted an FCPA inquiry and decided whether or not to press charges.