Ralph Lauren Bribery Case: Retailer Pays $1.6M To Settle Argentina Charge

Tuesday, 23 Apr 2013 11:00 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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Ralph Lauren Corp is settling a case with United States officials, who allege one of the clothing retailer's subsidiaries bribed government officials in Argentina. The company will shell out more than $1.6 million to settle the criminal and civil investigation, Reuters reported.

The U.S. Justice Department said authorities agreed not to prosecute Ralph Lauren after allegations surfaced that it bribed Argentinian customs officials to clear merchandise, some of which was prohibited.

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Ralph Lauren received the lenient treatment because of its "extensive" cooperation in the inquiry and new anti-bribery training for its employees, a world-wide risk assessment it conducted and other remedial measures.

Ralph Lauren will pay an $882,000 penalty to the DOJ and disgorge more than $730,000 in illicit profits and interest to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the two agencies said.

Ralph Lauren did not have an anti-corruption program or provide training to employees at its subsidiary in Argentina in the five-year period over which the bribes occurred, prosecutors said.

A lawyer for the company, Thomas Hanusik, said Ralph Lauren investigated the allegations, reported them to authorities and cooperated in the government probes.

The agreement with the SEC is the first non-prosecution agreement the agency has entered in the foreign bribery context.

In recent years both agencies have stepped up efforts to enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a 1970s-era law that bars bribes to officials of foreign governments.

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