As highlighted in this prior post, there are several companies in the FCPA repeat offender club.
As first highlighted in this 2017 post and rebooted here in connection with new information, ABB (a Swiss-based power and automation technology company) may become a three-time FCPA violator.
First, some relevant background.
The first time ABB resolved a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action was in 2004 concerning conduct in Nigeria, Angola and Kazakhstan. The $16.4 million enforcement action involved an SEC component ($5.9 million) and a DOJ component ($10.6 million).
The second time ABB resolved an FCPA enforcement action was in 2010 concerning conduct in Mexico as well as in connection with the Iraqi U.N. Oil for Food program. The $58.3 million enforcement action involved an SEC component ($39.3 million) and a DOJ component ($19 million).
The previous 2017 post highlighted how ABB is again under FCPA and related scrutiny in connection with its past dealings with Unaoil.
Recently, ABB disclosed the Unaoil matter as well as another instance of scrutiny in South Africa. Its filing states:
“As a result of an internal investigation, ABB self-reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) in the United States as well as to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the United Kingdom concerning certain of its past dealings with Unaoil and its subsidiaries, including alleged improper payments made by these entities to third parties. The SFO has commenced an investigation into this matter. We are cooperating fully with the authorities. At this time, it is not possible for us to make an informed judgment about the outcome of these matters.
Based on findings during an internal investigation, ABB self-reported to the SEC and the DoJ, to various authorities in South Africa and other countries as well as to certain multilateral financial institutions potential suspect payments and other compliance concerns in connection with some of the Company’s dealings with Eskom and related persons. Many of those parties have expressed an interest in, or commenced an investigation into, these matters and we are cooperating fully with them. At this time, it is not possible for us to make an informed judgment about the outcome of these matters.”