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On National Drink Beer Day, AB InBev Agrees To Pay $6 Million To Resolve FCPA (And Related) Enforcement Action

ABInBev

Yesterday was National Drink Beer Day.

Fitting then that yesterday the SEC announced this administrative cease and desist order against Anheuser-Busch InBev, a Belgium brewer with American Depository Receipts traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The conduct at issue involved improper payments by an Indian joint venture “to Indian government officials to obtain beer orders and to increase brewery hours.” AB InBev held a minority interest in the joint venture which marketed and distributed the beer of AB InBev’s wholly-owned Indian subsidiary.

The SEC found that AB InBev violated the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, AB InBev agreed to pay approximately $6 million to resolve the matter. As highlighted below, the SEC also found that AB InBev entered into a separation agreement with a former employee that violated an SEC Rule implementing Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower provisions.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Scrutiny alert, a potential increase FCPA statutory penalty amounts, Second Circuit appeal begins, SEC enforcement chief on whistleblowers, marketing the black hole, of note, and a ripple. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Scrutiny Update

VimpelCom was not the only company involved in the Uzbek telecommunications bribery scheme. As highlighted in this prior post, Swedish telecom company (a company with ADRs registered with the SEC) and Russia-based Mobile TeleSystems PJSC (a company with shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange) have also been scrutiny.

Recently, Telia issued this release:

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Purported BHP Billiton Whistleblower Bounty Raises Several Questions

Tough Question

According to this Australian Financial Review report (also covered by Reuters) the SEC paid approximately $3.75 million “to a former employee of Australian mining giant BHP Billiton” apparently in connection with the May 2015 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against the company.

As highlighted in prior posts here and here, the $25 million SEC FCPA enforcement action involved findings that BHP Billiton violated the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions in connection with a global hospitality program that the company had related to its sponsorship of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games.

According to the report, “legal sources have confirmed that the whistleblower was a BHP Billiton insider” who “provided detailed information to U.S. investigators about the mining firm’s activities overseas several years ago.”

If true (BHP Billton made the following statement to Reuters – “we are not aware of the involvement of any whistleblower as part of the SEC’s or DOJ’s investigation,”), it would represent the first publicly reported instance of a whistleblower being paid an SEC whistleblower bounty in connection with an FCPA enforcement action.

Yet, as highlighted below, if true the purported bounty raises several questions.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Checking in on Wal-Mart, DOJ “declinations,” another installment of as we say not as we do, scrutiny alerts, and cashing in. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Wal-Mart

In its recent 2Q FY2017 earnings call presentation Wal-Mart disclosed $28 million in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and compliance related expenses ($23 million for ongoing investigations and inquiries and $5 million for global compliance program and organizational enhancements). The Q2 expenses of $28 million are higher than the Q1 expenses of $25 million.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

As we say not as we do, scrutiny alerts and updates, and further RIP to the “Arthur Andersen effect.” It’s all here in 200th edition of the Friday roundup.

As We Say, Not As We Do

This previous post highlighted the April Fools’ Day 2015 SEC enforcement action against KBR for its non-existent, theoretical muzzling of individuals in certain employment agreements. According to the SEC, this violated SEC Rule 21F-17, which provides in relevant part: (a) No person may take any action to impede an individual from communicating directly with the Commission staff about a possible securities law violation, including enforcing, or threatening to enforce, a confidentiality agreement . . . with respect to such communications.”

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