US: Avon in settlement talks regarding alleged breaches of the FCPA
In an SEC filing on 1 August, Avon Products Inc confirmed that they are looking to settle a probe into potential violations of the FCPA. The investigations in question started in 2008 with an internal probe into possible bribery of government officials in China. The investigations have since spread to businesses in other countries and have cost an estimated $250 million to date.
The US governmental probe, undertaken by the SEC and DOJ, which has been running in tandem with Avon's internal investigations has focused on a 2005 internal audit identifying the possibility of bribery of Chinese government officials by company employees. It has been alleged that orders were given that the audit was to be destroyed.
The announcement that Avon are seeking to settle the matter comes just a matter of months following the appointment of a new CEO, Sheri McCoy. While it appears to be a positive step towards resolving this costly and embarrassing issue, the company remains realistic, acknowledging that "there can be no assurance that a settlement will be reached".