Two American tobacco companies are paying nearly $30 million to settle charges that they bribed foreign officials to get lucrative overseas tobacco sales contracts. The companies, Universal Corp. of Richmond, Virginia, and Alliance One International of Morrisville, North Carolina, face civil and criminal charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department.
Universal was accused of bribing officials in Thailand, Malawi and Mozambique. Alliance One is accused of bribing officials in Thailand, China, Greece, Indonesia, and Kyrgyzstan. To settle the charges, Alliance One has agreed to pay a criminal fine of $9.45 million and return $10 million in profits. Universal has agreed to pay a criminal fine of $4.4 million and return $4.5 million in profits.
Universal says it will use an independent corporate monitor to look over its accounting practices and will change or take up new policies as needed. It was reported that the Justice Department won’t prosecute Universal if it follows terms of an agreement between the Department and the company for the next three years.
Source: CBS News
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