As highlighted in this previous post, in February 2016 telecommunications company VimpelCom (now known as VEON) resolved a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action concerning conduct in Uzbekistan.
In resolving the matter through a three-year deferred prosecution agreement, the company agreed to pay a net $397.5 million FCPA settlement and also agreed to engage a compliance monitor.
Veon recently announced that the DPA has concluded. As stated in the release:
“This marks the end of VEON’s compliance monitorship, conducted in connection with the DPA and the company’s settlement with the US Securities & Exchange Commission.
VEON is pleased that its commitment to ethics, compliance and internal controls, along with the improvements it has made over the past three years, have enabled it to successfully complete the DPA and monitorship in a timely manner. VEON will continue to ensure that its robust anti-corruption programme is effective and sustainable over the long-term.
With the conclusion of the DPA, the US Department of Justice has filed a motion with the US District Court for the Southern District of New York to dismiss the charges deferred by the DPA.
Ursula Burns, VEON’s Chairman and CEO, said: “This is a significant milestone for our company which demonstrates the strong progress we have made in building a robust and sustainable compliance programme across our business. A culture of ethics and compliance is now reflected in our structures, procedures and daily ways of working.
Key to strengthening our internal controls and compliance culture was the appointment of our Group General Counsel Scott Dresser in 2014 and our Group Chief Compliance Officer Josh Drew in 2017. Their leadership and the diligence of their teams have been essential in leading the company successfully through the entire process and monitorship. We remain committed to ensuring ethics and compliance underscores everything we do, and I am proud of the hard work by our employees to ensure we, as a Group, are working at the highest standards.”
The DOJ’s recent motion to dismiss the criminal information states in pertinent part:
“On or about September 27, 2019, VimpelCom’s monitor certified, pursuant to [the] DPA that VimpelCom’s compliance program, including its policies and procedures, is reasonably designed and implemented to prevent and detect violations of the anti-corruption laws.
On or about October 31, 2019, VimpelCom’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer certified to the Government that VimpelCom has met its disclosure obligations pursuant to [the] DPA.
Based on the information known to the Government, VimpelCom has fully met the obligations under the DPA, including full cooperation with the Government, implementation of an enhanced compliance program and procedures, and satisfaction of the terms of the provisions regarding the independent compliance monitorship. In addition, VimpelCom has made timely payment of the $460,326,398.40 monetary penalty.
Given that VimpelCom has fully complied with all of its obligations under the DPA, the Government has determined that dismissal of the Information with prejudice is appropriate. The Government has conferred with counsel for VimpelCom, who concurs that dismissal is appropriate at this time.”
And just like that, it’s as if the criminal charges never happened.
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