Avon remains tight-lipped as evidence is presented at ongoing bribery investigation

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Foreign corrupt practices act, Bribery

Avon remains tight-lipped as evidence is presented at ongoing bribery investigation
Global cosmetics firm Avon remains tight-lipped as federal prosecutors investigating whether U.S. executives at the company broke foreign-bribery laws present evidence in the probe to a grand jury.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Authorities are focused on a 2005 internal audit report by the company that concluded Avon employees in China may have been bribing officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act​.”

CosmeticsDesign.com USA approached Avon representatives but found they were unavailable for comment on the news at the time of publishing.

This publication also approached the US Securities and Exchange Commission who initiated the probe, to be told that information on the case was unavailable whilst it was ongoing.

SEC filing

Last month the company confirmed in an SEC filing that its vice chairman Charles Cramb has been fired following ongoing investigations into bribery centred on its China operations.

The filing underlined the fact that it was in connection with the investigations into possible material disclosure violations that may have involved the bribery of officials in several countries.

Ongoing investigation

To date, the company is continuing with internal investigations showing that since 2004 the company may have made millions of dollars in unofficial payments to officials all over the world.

The law firm highlights that, beyond China, the company may also have made illegal payments to officials in countries including Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, India and Japan.

The internal investigations begun in June of 2008, aimed at getting to the bottom of whether or not officials at the company had violated the Foreign Currency Practices Act – a law that makes it illegal for US businesses to bribe foreign officials.

Four executives fired in 2010

Initially the company announced the suspension of four executives in April of 2010, following an investigation that was first initiated when the matter came to light, in 2009.

Those four executives – three of whom were based in China, the other being the company’s chief of global internal audit and security – were all fired over bribery charges that included improper use of travel and entertainment expenses.

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