$7.5 Million Penalty for Hiring Relatives of Chinese Officials to Obtain Business
The Securities and Exchange Commission reports that a U.S. company has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The company also agreed to self-report to the SEC for two years with annual reports and certifications of its FCPA compliance. The company states that the Department of Justice recently closed a criminal investigation of these matters without taking any action.
The company was charged with hiring relatives of Chinese government officials deciding whether to select the company’s products amid increasing competition in the international market. An SEC investigation found that the company also provided gifts, travel and entertainment with no valid business purpose to try to influence officials at government-owned companies in China. With insufficient internal controls to detect improper payments, the SEC states, the company misrepresented in its books and records that the things of value provided to foreign officials were legitimate business expenses.