AB InBev agrees to pay $6m to settle SEC charges

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: iStock/MarcioSilva
Pic: iStock/MarcioSilva

Related tags: Ab inbev, U.s. securities and exchange commission

Anheuser-Busch InBev has agreed to pay $6m to settle charges that it 'violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA); and chilled a whistleblower who reported the misconduct', according to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

The SEC investigation alleges that AB InBev used third-party sales promoters to make improper payments to government officials in India, in order to increase the sales and production of AB InBev products in that country. 

The SEC adds that AB InBev had ‘inadequate internal accounting controls to detect and prevent improper payments’.

The problem was exacerbated by “including language in a separation agreement that chilled an employee from communicating with the SEC,”​ says a statement from the SEC.

For a two-year period, the company must cooperate with the SEC and report its FCPA compliance efforts.

AB InBev emphasizes that the SEC concerned events took place a number of years ago, at a former minority-owned joint venture. 

A statement from the company says: "We are pleased to have resolved the SEC’s investigation and that the U.S. Department of Justice closed its parallel investigation without taking enforcement action. 

"The settlement we have reached with the SEC concerns events that took place four to seven years ago at a former minority-owned joint venture.

"When we began independent operations in India in 2015, we delivered extensive FCPA training to our Indian employees, and we adopted improved compliance procedures and policies.

"As stated in the AB InBev Code of Business Conduct, our employees are encouraged to report any activity that they believe might be a violation of laws, regulations, the Code of Business Conduct, or company policies.

"We remain firmly committed to the highest compliance standards and to growing our business the right way."

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