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SEC charges Anheuser-Busch InBev with violating FCPA

Staff Writer |
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that Anheuser-Busch InBev has agreed to pay $6 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and chilled a whistleblower who reported the misconduct.

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An SEC investigation found that the company used third-party sales promoters to make improper payments to government officials in India to increase the sales and production of Anheuser-Busch InBev products in that country.

Despite repeated complaints from employees, Anheuser-Busch InBev had inadequate internal accounting controls to detect and prevent the improper payments, and the company failed to ensure that transactions involving the promoters were recorded properly in its books and records.

The SEC’s order further finds that Anheuser-Busch InBev entered into a separation agreement that stopped an employee from continuing to voluntarily communicate with the SEC about potential FCPA violations due to a substantial financial penalty that would be imposed for violating strict non-disclosure terms.

The SEC’s order finds that Anheuser-Busch InBev, which is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, violated the books and records provisions and the internal controls provisions of the federal securities laws as well as Securities Exchange Act Rule 21F-17(a).

Anheuser-Busch InBev agreed to pay $2,712,955 in disgorgement plus interest of $292,381 and a penalty of $3,002,955.

For a two-year period, the company must cooperate with the SEC and report its FCPA compliance efforts while making reasonable efforts to notify certain former employees that Anheuser-Busch InBev does not prohibit employees from contacting the SEC about possible law violations.

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