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A Blemish – Nu Skin Enterprises Resolves SEC FCPA Enforcement Action Based On Its Chinese Subsidiary’s “Charitable Donation”

NuSkin

A common theme in 2016 SEC Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions has been foreign subsidiaries (often in China) engaging in conduct without the knowledge of the parent company, the subsidiary taking steps to conceal the conduct from the parent company, yet in what amounts to strict liability, the SEC holding the parent company liable for books and records and internal control violations.

The SEC returned to this theme yesterday in this administrative action against Nu Skin Enterprises Inc., a Utah based company in the business of manufacturing and marketing cosmetic and nutritional products primarily through direct selling, or multi-level marketing, channels.

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SEC Brings FCPA Enforcement Action Against Former Executive Of Harris Corp’s Dissolved Chinese Subsidiary

Ping

As highlighted in this prior post, in April 2011 Harris Corporation completed an acquisition of Carefx and in the process acquired its subsidiaries including Carefx China. In connection with its integration activities and the subsequent audit of the financials of the Carefx China operations, Harris Corp. became aware that certain entertainment, travel and other expenses in connection with the Carefx China operations may have been incurred or recorded improperly. In response, Harris Corp. voluntarily disclosed to the DOJ and SEC.

As highlighted in this prior post, a few months ago Harris Corp. disclosed that “during the second quarter of fiscal 2016, the DOJ advised us that they have determined not to take any action against us related to this matter.” The same disclosure stated that the company is “continuing to cooperate with the SEC regarding its investigation.”

In the meantime, earlier this week the SEC announced this administrative action finding that Jun Ping Zhang (pictured – a U.S. citizen and former Chairman and CEO of CareFx China who was terminated in mid-2012) violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Zhang is currently Senior Vice President, Product Innovation and Chief Technology Officer at MedeAnalytics. (See also here).

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AstraZeneca Coughs Up $5.5 Million To Resolve FCPA Action

Astra

Say an English company has Chinese and Russian subsidiaries which, approximately 6-10 years ago, provided various things of value to physicians in those countries.

The end result?

Why of course $5.5 million to the U.S. Treasury because the English company has American Depositary Shares registered with the SEC.

The above description is not make-believe, but a summary of a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action released yesterday by the SEC against AstraZeneca Plc (a United Kingdom biopharmaceutical company).

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Indirect Mexico Subsidiary Exposes Key Energy Services To $5 Million FCPA Enforcement Action

Key Energy

Last Friday, the SEC announced this administrative order finding that Key Energy Services violated the books and records and internal control provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In pertinent part, the SEC found that certain employees of an indirect Mexico subsidiary “abused their privileges, approving suspect arrangements with and payments to consultants and gifts to Mexican government officials at Pemex, and concealing these arrangements and payments from Key Energy.”

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Key Energy agreed to pay $5 million in disgorgement.

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In Connection With A 2006 Argentine Labor Dispute, Chilean Airline Pays U.S. Government $22 Million

LATAM

Five months ago, the SEC brought a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Ignacio Cueto Plaza (“Cueto”), the Chilean CEO of Santiago, Chile based LAN Airlines S.A. (“LAN”) for authorizing payments in 2006 and 2007 to a third party consultant in Argentina in connection with LAN’s attempts to settle disputes on wages and other work conditions between LAN Argentina S.A. (“LAN Argentina”), a subsidiary of LAN, and its employees.

Yesterday, the DOJ and SEC returned to the same conduct by announcing (here and here) parallel FCPA enforcement actions against LAN.

In short, the end result of an old labor dispute between a Chilean airline and Argentine workers is approximately $22 million flowing into the U.S. Treasury because LAN has shares that are traded on a U.S. exchange.

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