I was planning to write about conflicts of interest in this blog post, playing off of this article about a doctor who took extreme measures to avoid the conflicts of interest posed by pharmaceutical sales reps.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (Wal-Mart) indicated it was ‘probable’ that they would incur a loss because of its ongoing bribery investigations. Wal-Mart does not think the loss will be material at this point, but said that could change in the future. Last April, allegations surfaced that the company failed to report the fact that company officials authorized millions of dollars in payments to Mexican government officials to speed up the acquisition of building permits and other favors.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have opened preliminary bribery investigations into Microsoft’s possible violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). According to a person briefed on the inquiry, an unnamed whistleblower came forward last year claiming a Microsoft official in China instructed the whistleblower to pay bribes to government officials in order to win business. The agencies are also investigating claims of misconduct in Italy and Romania. According to the person briefed on the inquiry, Microsoft conducted an internal investigation on the China accusations in 2010 with the aid of an outside law firm and found no evidence of improper behavior.
The Las Vegas Sands Corporation (Sands) indicated in its annual regulatory filing last week that its audit committee and independent accountants had concluded that the company likely violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The admission comes at the same time the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been conducting an investigation into the company’s activities in China. According to the filing, Sands is cooperating with all investigations and the company did not believe the filing would have an impact on financial statements or necessitate revisions to its past statements.
Both the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act require that organizations undertake comprehensive anti-bribery risk assessments as a first step towards compliance with their mandates. From a practical perspective, it makes perfect sense that companies should first seek to understand risk exposure and the issues they face before taking action to address them. Conveniently, not only do risk assessments uncover areas of risk, well-executed assessments also help illuminate mitigation prioritization for the risks identified.
3M Company (3M) announced this week that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) informed the company in January that they would be dropping their bribery investigation without taking any actions. The agencies had been investigating 3M since 2009 regarding possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) after the company voluntarily disclosed it was conducting an internal probe into one of its subsidiaries located in Turkey.
Italian police have arrested Finmeccanica chief executive and chairperson Giuseppe Orsi on allegations that he bribed intermediaries in the €560 million (approximately US$749 million) sale of 12 helicopters from the Italian state-controlled defence technologies conglomerate to the Indian Government. Reportedly, Indian Defence Minister A. K. Antony has ordered India's federal police to conduct an inquiry into the deal, which allegedly involved kickbacks worth Rs40 million paid to Indian officials.
The United States (US) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that insurance and asset management company Allianz SE (Allianz) has agreed to pay US$12.3 million to settle SEC charges that it breached the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the period 2001 to 2008. A SEC investigation found that 295 government insurance contracts were obtained or retained by improper payments of US$650,626 by Allianz's subsidiary in Indonesia to employees of state-owned groups.
Like many global organizations, CSR plc , a provider of silicon and software solutions for the electronics and technology industries, faces increasing compliance challenges from regulations such as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices ACT (FCPA) and UK Bribery Act (UKBA). Working closely with SAI Global, CSR developed a learning program based on existing courseware that was designed to embed, communicate and reinforce a zero tolerance stance on bribery and corruption with all employees across CSR’s worldwide locations.
Rolls-Royce said that it has been in talks with Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over potential corruption involving its intermediaries overseas. Allegedly, the SFO asked the company to investigate allegations of corruption in China and Indonesia earlier in the year. Rolls-Royce then hired an outside body to conduct an investigation, the results of which identified matters of concern. The company then reported its concerns to the SFO. Aerospace and defense companies like Rolls-Royce often use intermediaries to conduct business in areas where they do not have large scale operations and the industry has faced allegations of corruption before.
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