The Database

Cover art for the book Global Banks on Trial: U.S. Prosecutions and the Remaking of International Finance by Pierre-Hugues Verdier
Global Banks on Trial: U.S. Prosecutions and the Remaking of International Finance by Pierre-Hugues Verdier

This database includes criminal enforcement actions brought by the U.S. Department of Justice against global banks and related actions by U.S. regulatory agencies and foreign governments during the period 2008-2016. It was compiled as part of the research for the book Global Banks on Trial: U.S. Prosecutions and the Remaking of International Finance by Professor Pierre-Hugues Verdier, published by Oxford University Press in 2020.

The database consists of two tables, one containing U.S. enforcement actions, and the second, foreign enforcement actions. On each table, users may click through any item to a page containing additional information about the relevant action. Please note that most of the descriptions of enforcement actions are excerpted verbatim or adapted, in whole or in part, directly from the agency's press release or related documents. For more details on the meaning or origin of each field, please consult the data dictionary.

The global banks covered consist of all banks that were included on the Financial Stability Board (FSB)'s list of Global Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBs) or its predecessor, the FSB's list of Global Systemically Important Financial Institutions (G-SIFIs), in any year between the release of the first list in 2010 and 2016. It thus includes banks that were added or removed during that period.

Collection Method

The database was created in two stages. In the first stage, a researcher searched the website of the U.S. Department of Justice for corporate criminal enforcement actions against covered global banks, and checked the resulting list against Brandon Garrett's Corporate Prosecutions Registry. The researcher then identified, based on the press releases, settlement documents, and agency websites, related enforcement actions by U.S. regulatory agencies, state authorities, and foreign governments. For each enforcement action, the researcher recorded the relevant fields, including a short description drawn from the press release or other relevant materials. Thus, the core of the database consists of publicly available U.S. corporate criminal enforcement settlements (NPAs, DPAs and plea agreements) and related U.S. and foreign regulatory enforcement actions.

In the second stage, a researcher collected the annual reports of each of the covered banks for the period 2008-2016 from the banks' websites, along the bank's Form 20-F filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission where available, and searched these reports for terms relating to enforcement actions. The researcher then recorded the information provided in the relevant annual report regarding enforcement actions not covered at the first stage, including only the final action when the same action was reported in several annual reports. When an annual report's reference related to an enforcement action already recorded in the database, the duplicate entry was eliminated. Thus, the database also includes enforcement actions against global banks by governments worldwide as disclosed in the banks' annual reports. The information about these actions is limited to that reported in the banks' disclosures and is less extensive than for the core actions described above. The dates reported are approximate and usually correspond to the end of the period covered by the relevant annual report. Note that for enforcement actions that were disclosed between 2008-2016 but resolved afterwards, the resolution may not be included in the database.


The database is provided as a convenience for researchers and others interested in enforcement actions against global banks, in order to avoid duplication of efforts to collect the relevant data. We do not make representations regarding its completeness or accuracy. In particular, the database was initially collected for purposes of a project on U.S. criminal enforcement actions relating to benchmark manipulation, tax evasion, and sanctions violations. As a result, coverage of other topics is less comprehensive. For instance, researchers should note that the database does not systematically document civil actions brought by the DOJ and other agencies and governments against global banks. The large civil settlements for misconduct relating to mortgage and mortgage-related securities, which amount for most of the monetary penalties imposed on global banks after the financial crisis, are thus not documented except to the extent that they are described in the banks' annual reports. Likewise, enforcement actions by most foreign governments are not systematically recorded except to the extent that they were directly connected with a DOJ enforcement action or described in a bank's annual report. The database also does not cover criminal cases against individuals.

The database may be updated or supplemented in the future. We welcome user reports of omissions or discrepancies.


The database was compiled under the supervision of Professor Pierre-Hugues Verdier, University of Virginia School of Law by his research assistants, Joseph Betteley, Brandon Hanley, and Will Christ.