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Apple in second place for largest corporate fines in 2024, Google not far behind


You might be surprised to learn that some of the best known global brands are in the top 10 for largest corporate fines in 2024. It’s only start of May and already two major corporations have be issued with fines of over one billion US dollars, Apple being in the second place. While it is encouraging to see companies facing severe consequences for breaking the law, it does make one wonder what breaches justify such hefty penalties. The fines are large but you’ll be surprised to learn further down the article how long it will take the perpetrators to pay the required penalties…

The news feed us stories of corporate wrongdoing covering bribery and financial fraud, and also data protection breaches and deceptive marketing practices. Given the frequency of these misconducts, it isn’t easy to track which corporation has done what. Yet, the team at Tradingpedia decided to give it a try.

Let’s take a look at the largest corporate fines in 2024 so far

They took on the task of finding which companies have been dished out the biggest fines in 2024 so far and why, scouring through enforcement data from various federal regulatory agencies. After a careful examination of multiple criminal cases, civil actions, and settlements, reported in enforcement records and press releases from January 2024 to April 2024, we came up with the following ranking:

Which companies have faced the largest fines since January 2024

In addition, we estimated the average daily revenue for the companies on the list using their annual revenue from the fiscal year ending December 31, 2023, unless noted otherwise. This allowed us to check how long it would take each company to pay off all fines incurred since January 2024.

Our calculations revealed that eight out of the fifteen companies, for which information was available, could settle all of their fines for the year so far with less than a day’s revenue. Notably, the tech giant Amazon, which earned $1,574,753,425 per day in 2023, more than any other company we looked at, could clear its $34.7M fine within just 32 minutes of operation. Meanwhile, City National Bank would require the longest time to cover its $65M fine, totaling 100 days, 2 hours and 13 minutes.

The top 2 corporate fines

Cummins – $2B

Since the beginning of 2024, Indiana-based engine manufacturing leader Cummins has paid a whopping $2 billion in civil fines and other related costs to regulatory bodies for breaching vehicle emission control regulations under the Clean Air Act.

An extensive investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the California Air Resources Board found that Cummins had installed illegal software defeat devices on 630,000 pickup trucks. These devices helped vehicles pass standard emission tests but reduced the effectiveness of the emission controls during real-world driving conditions. As a result, the trucks emitted nitrogen oxides, a key component of smog and fine particle pollution, at much higher levels than emission standards allow, exposing communities across the U.S. to harmful air pollution. Additionally, those vehicles and approximately 330,000 more had auxiliary emission control devices Cumins did not disclose as part of the engine certification process.

After paying a record $1.675 billion civil penalty – the largest ever assessed in a Clean Air Act case, which is also the second-largest environmental penalty overall – Cummins, without admitting any wrongdoing, agreed to fund federal and California emission mitigation projects and the recall program for the affected vehicles at an estimated cost of over $326 million. As per the settlement terms reached on January 10, 2024, Cummins must repair at least 85% of the trucks within three years. Failure to meet this target will result in additional penalties.

Apple – $1.953B

On March 4th, the European Commission hit U.S. tech giant Apple with a $1.953 billion (€1.8B) fine for violating competition laws related to music streaming.

The Commission began investigating Apple in 2020, prompted by a complaint from Spotify, a leading music streaming service provider. The EU’s antitrust authority found that Apple had obstructed music streaming app developers from informing iPhone and iPad users about alternative, more cost-effective music subscription services outside the App Store and from providing instructions about subscribing to such offers.

The Commission said the size of the fine reflects Apple’s global revenues and the harm the company’s actions, which went on for nearly a decade, inflicted on millions of European consumers. According to the EU regulator, iOS users might have paid more for streaming subscriptions because of the tech giant’s 30% commission fee on all in-app transactions.

In response, Apple announced that it plans to appeal the penalty. “While we respect the European Commission, the facts simply don’t support this decision.” the company added.