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Herbalife Resolves $123 Million Enforcement Action – Becoming The Latest Company To Resolve A Matter In Connection With Obtaining A Direct Selling Permit In China

herbalife

In 2014, Avon resolved a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement based in large part on obtaining a direct selling permit in China. (See here for the prior post).

In 2016, Nu Skin Enterprises resolved an FCPA enforcement action based in large part on obtaining a direct selling permit in China. (See here for the prior post).

In the latest enforcement action involving another company in the same general industry involving the same general conduct, the DOJ and SEC recently announced (here and here) that Herbalife agreed to pay approximately $123 million to resolve a parallel DOJ and SEC enforcement action. The corporate action follows the DOJ and SEC’s November 2019 enforcement action against former Herbalife China executives Yanliang Li (a citizen of China and former Managing Director of a Chinese division of Herbalife) and Hongwei Yang (a citizen of China and former head the External Affairs Department of a Chinese division of Herbalife).

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World Acceptance Corp. Resolves $21.7 Million Enforcement Action Based On The Conduct Of A Former Wholly-Owned Mexico Subsidiary

world accept

As highlighted in this prior post, in June 2017 World Acceptance Corporation (a South Carolina based consumer finance company) disclosed that it was “conducting an internal investigation of its operations in Mexico, focusing on the legality under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and certain local laws of certain payments related to loans, the maintenance of the Company’s books and records associated with such payments, and the treatment of compensation matters for certain employees.”

As highlighted in this prior post, in May 2020 the company disclosed that “discussions with the SEC have progressed to a point that the Company can now reasonably estimate a probable loss and has recorded an aggregate accrual of $21.7 million with respect to the SEC matters.”

Yesterday, the SEC announced that World Acceptance Corp. agreed to resolve a $21.7 million FCPA enforcement action based on the actions of a former wholly-owned Mexican subsidiary it sold in July 2018.

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Alexion Pharmaceuticals Resolves $21.5 Million Enforcement Action

alexionsoli

Yesterday, the SEC announced that Alexion Pharmaceuticals (a company that has been under scrutiny since mid-2015) agreed to approximately $21.5 million to resolve an enforcement action based on the actions of foreign subsidiaries involving the company’s primary drug Soliris.

The conduct at issue focused on Alexion Illac Ticarent Limited Sirketi (Alexion Turkey), Alexion Pharma OOO (Alexion Russia), Alexion Pharma Brazil and Alexion Pharma Colombia SAS (all wholly-owned subsidiaries whose books and records were consolidated into Alexion’s financial statements).

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Novartis Joins The Repeat Offender Club – This Time Paying Approximately $347 Million To Resolve An FCPA Enforcement Action

Novartis

What happens when the Greek, Swiss, and South Korean subsidiaries of a Swiss company engage in improper conduct in Greece, Vietnam and South Korea? Why of course, approximately $345 million flows into the U.S. treasury.

Yesterday, Novartis joined the long and growing list of FCPA repeat offenders as the DOJ and SEC announced (see here and here) a combined approximate $347 million enforcement action. (As highlighted in this prior post, in 2016 Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis coughed up $25 million to resolve a SEC FCPA enforcement action focused on the conduct of its indirect Chinese subsidiaries).

Yesterday’s enforcement action included a DOJ component (in which the company agreed to pay approximately $234 million) and a SEC component (in which the company agreed to pay approximately $113 million).

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Strict Liability For Subsidiary Conduct

oilstates

[This post is part of a periodic series regarding “old” FCPA enforcement actions]

Issuer strict liability for subsidiary conduct is a dubious prong of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement. However, as highlighted in this post concerning a 2006 enforcement action against Oil States International, it has long been an aspect of FCPA enforcement.

In 2006, the SEC brought this administrative action against Oil States International (a specialty provider to oil and gas drilling companies). The conduct at issue was based entirely on the actions of employees of a branch office in Eastern Venezuela of Hydraulic Well Control LLC, a subsidiary of Oil States. According to the SEC, HWC Venezuela contributed approximately 1% of Oil States’ consolidated revenues during the relevant time period.

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