Avon Bribery Case May Face U.S. Grand Jury Investigation

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Feb. 14 – Avon Products Inc., the world’s largest door-to-door cosmetics merchant, is still in the midst of bribery rumors four years after the U.S. company started an internal anti-corruption investigation.

Federal prosecutors are now probing a 2005 draft internal report by the company which raised concern over Avon’s compliance with U.S. anti-bribery laws, and have presented evidence to a U.S. grand jury, according to both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The 2005 report, which found several hundred thousand dollars in questionable payments to Chinese officials and third-party consultants during that year, warned Avon’s actions may in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a U.S. law promulgated in 1977 and used to bar U.S. companies from paying bribes to foreign officials. The report also suggested steps to follow up on the case. Continue reading…

Six Principles to Follow for Bribery Prevention

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By Helena Wahlund

Dec. 5 – It has become increasingly important for companies to have procedures in place in order to prevent corruption and bribery from taking place within their organizations. Following greater international cooperation between enforcement authorities as well as new enforcement techniques such as wiretaps and sting operations, the number of prosecutions under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) has dramatically increased from just five in 2004 to over seventy in 2010. China Briefing dedicated an entire issue to the FCPA in May this year, and with the introduction of the UK Bribery Act five months ago, the global trend of taking action against noncompliance is showing no signs of losing strength.

Unlike the FCPA, the UK Bribery Act also covers business-to-business bribery and does not offer any exceptions for facilitating payments to foreign officials – an area that may be of particular concern to companies operating in China. Another key feature of the act is the new corporate offence of “failure to prevent bribery” (The Bribery Act, Section 7). According to Section 7, if bribery occurs on behalf of a company by a person associated with it, the company can be made liable and, what is more, there are no limitations as to the amounts that can be fined. Continue reading…

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