Beam Suntory Inc. agreed to pay a penalty of $19.6 million for bribery and other violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The company had paid bribes to officials in India and then went to great lengths to conceal the bribes and foil investigations into the FCPA violations. The agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) also includes a deferred prosecution agreement that puts the DOJ in an oversight role over changes to the company’s internal ethics and compliance controls.
The company had cooperated with the Securities and Exchange Commission on a similar investigation, but the DOJ noted no such cooperation with its own investigation:
“[Beam Suntory] did not receive full credit for its cooperation due to its inconsistent and, at times, inadequate cooperation, including positions taken by the Company that were not consistent with full cooperation, as well as significant delays caused by the Company in reaching a timely resolution and its refusal to accept responsibility for several years.”