Five whopping great corporate fines - and the scandals that incurred them

As PricewaterhouseCoopers gets fined £1.4m, we look back at some of the most shocking and expensive misdemeanours in business history

It’s not been a very happy new year for PwC. It just got a wrist-slap to the value of £1.4m for “very serious” misconduct over its audit of JP Morgan Securities. But that’s actually no big deal. Cast your eyes over the biggest business fines for foul play and you’ll know why:

1. Pfizer - $2.3bn (£1.4bn)

When: 2009

In the largest settlement any pharmaceutical company has ever made, Pfizer paid through the nose to settle a case over illegal marketing of its drug Bextra. Pfizer was also accused of fraudulently marketing its anti-psychotic drug Geodon, the antibiotic Zyvox, and the epilepsy treatment Lyrica.

2. Intel - $1.45bn (£948m)

When: 2009

Intel was fined by the European Commission for anti-competitive practices. The Commission found that between 2002 and 2007, Intel had paid manufacturers and a retailer to favour its chips over those of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

3. Microsoft - $1.3bn (£680.9m)

When: 2008

The EU dragged Microsoft to court for defying sanctions imposed on it for anti-competitive behaviour. Microsoft paid £680.9m after it failed to comply with a 2004 ruling that it abused its dominant market position.

4. Elan – $200m (£129m)

When: 2010

The Irish pharmaceutical company was fined for rogue marketing of an anti-epileptic drug helping weight loss and mood stabilization.

5. National Irish Bank - £42m

When: 2004

Following a damning report that exposed wrongdoings like overcharging customers and evading tax for 10 years, the bank had to shell out a staggering £42m.

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