BP to Google: 13 biggest fines ever imposed on errant companies

Though the world's largest multinationals can weather any storm, they are not always above the law. Here's a look at some of the biggest corporate fines paid in recent times.
British Petroleum

In 2016, British Petroleum was found guilty of criminal manslaughter, negligence and environmental crimes and was ordered to pay $20.8 billion - the largest fine ever levied by the Department of Justice of United States.
In April 2010, BP which was in a hurry to finish the Macondo Well - known as the well from hell -  was blamed after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew out, causing a series of explosions, dumping more than 130 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
The company also paid an additional $525 million fine for hiding information from investors, and three of its employees were indicted on criminal charges.
Bank of America

In 2014, Bank of America was asked to pay a whopping $16.65 billion after the US government concluded that the bank was involved in unlawful conduct during the financial crisis 2008. Surprisingly, Bank of America did not plead guilty to any criminal wrongdoing.

In June 2016, the German automaker was caught cheating on emission tests and deceiving its customers. The manufacturers lied about the capabilities of the diesel vehicles stating that they met emission requirements. But in reality, the emission control systems were not activated for most cars.
JPMorgan Chase

In 2013, JPMorgan Chase was  taken to task for its role in causing the 2008 financial crisis. JPMorgan Chase, which bought Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, had acquired a huge pile of residential mortgages and sold mortgage-backed securities to unsuspecting investors as if everything was just fine.

BNP Paribas

In 2014, BNP Paribas, headquartered in Paris, was found violating US economic sanctions by processing billions of dollars through the US financial system on behalf of Sudan, Iran, and Cuba, which were subject to US economic sanctions.   


In 2014, Citigroup had to pay up $7 billion for its role in the 2008 financial crisis. According to reports, it was alleged that Citi knew about the bad mortgages it had sold while representing the securitised mortgages as good investments.

Goldman Sachs

In April 2016, Goldman Sachs had to cough up $5.06 billion for misleading investors about residential mortgage-backed securities during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.


In July 2018, the European Commission handed Google a $5 billion fine for favouring its own apps on Android devices over those of competitors. Tech experts say Google has been bundling its search engine and Chrome apps into the operating system.
It has also blocked phone makers from creating devices that run forked versions of Android, and it "made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators‚?? to exclusively bundle the Google search app on handsets.
The European Commission had asked Google to bring its "illegal conduct‚??  to an end within 90 days.


In 2012, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) pleaded guilty not only for misbranding the drugs Paxil and Wellbutrin, but also for hiding safety information from the FDA. As a result, GSK was fined $3 billion. While this was the largest settlement ever by a pharmaceutical company that time, experts feel the $3-billion fine was not enough given the $25 billion in sales from the respective drugs.

Credit Suisse

In 2014, the Swiss bank had to fork over $2.88 billion for helping certain US citizens for evading taxes. While Swiss banks are known for secrecy, experts felt the investors should have been more aware of risks especially in the tax evasion crackdown of 2008. The investigation led to the criminal indictment of eight Credit Suisse employees.


Again in 2017, EU had fined Google for abusing its dominance of the search engine market in building its online shopping service. The regulators alleged by artificially and illegally promoting its own price comparison service in searches, Google denied both its consumers real choice and rival firms the ability to compete on a level playing field.


The European Commission fined Intel for abusing its dominance in the computer chip market. Regulators said the penalty against Intel was justified because the company had skewed competition and denied consumers a choice for chips.


In January 2018, the US chip maker was fined for abusing its position to make sure no one else could bid for Apple contracts. The US chipmaker is accused of paying the iPhone-maker billions of dollars between 2011 and 2016 to exclusively use its 4G chips in the iPhone and iPad. The EU's antitrust commission began investigating this case in 2015, and imposed a fine that was about 4.9% of Qualcomm's revenue in 2017.