United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and India
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Actions taken in India
Till 2021 Sept
Amazon is said to have launched a probe after a whistleblower raised a complaint against its legal representatives for their role in allegedly bribing Indian officials. The development was reported by the publication Morning Context.
When TOI contacted Amazon, the company said, “We have zero tolerance for corruption. We take allegations of improper actions seriously, investigate them fully, and take appropriate action. We are not commenting on specific allegations or the status of any investigation at this time.” The Morning Context article said Amazon had sent its senior counsel on leave pending probe. It also said an independent advocate in Delhi, who works with Amazon as an outside counsel, was the one who funnelled the money paid by Amazon to bribe government officials.
US has fined many cos for bribery here
The allegations, if true, are a violation of the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which prohibits the payment of bribes to foreign officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business.
Over the years, the US has imposed fines on a number of companies for cases of bribery in India. In 2016, Cognizant Technology Solutions disclosed a corruption issue it found in India to the US SEC. The company was made to pay $25 million in penalties. The case related to Cognizant’s campus in Chennai where a senior Tamil Nadu government official allegedly was paid a bribe to facilitate construction at the campus.
Among others against whom FCPA enforcement actions were taken for bribery in India include Embraer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Mondelez/ Cadbury, Oracle, Tyco International, Dow Chemical, Pride International, Textron, and Diageo, according to a report by law firm Foley & Lardner.
The SEC said Embraer paid nearly $6 million to an agent in India in connection with the sale of three highly specialised military aircraft.
The SEC charged Diageo with making $2.7 million in improper payments to government officials in India, Thailand, and South Korea.