Call this the ultimate additional fee: automated teller machine (ATM) maker NCR Corp. will need to develop a process for tracking company gifts and bolster its China-specific compliance efforts by the terms of a settlement the company reached with a shareholder the week of Jan. 20.
In 2012, shareholder turned whistleblower Sharon Williams accused the company’s board members and executives of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and U.S. sanctions violations. Williams alleged that company officials willfully violated U.S. sanctions in Syria while improperly bribing government officials in China and the Middle East.
According to the lawsuit, Williams claimed that the company knowingly made false statements regarding its dealings with these countries and failed to act in good faith to prevent improper conduct.
NCR Corp. has claimed no wrongdoing since revealing the allegations from a “purported whistleblower” in 2012, and according to The Wall Street Journal, the company will continue to admit no fault through the settlement. The agreement has been sent to a Georgia federal court judge for preliminary approval.
“We believe the proposed settlement is in the best interests of NCR and its shareholders and we are pleased to put this matter behind us,” said an NCR spokesman to the WSJ in an email.
NCR Corp. will be forced to bolster its risk and compliance program in a number of ways, including increased compliance training for company employees and those who work with the company, development of a China-specific supplement to chart the company’s gifts and entertainment expenditures within the country, and the development of a process to watch over company-wide gift and entertainment expenditures.
FCPA enforcement plummeted in 2013, with the SEC reporting only five enforcement sanctions during the year as compared to 20 in 2012. However, enforcement may be rising once again in 2014, especially in light of Alcoa’s $384 million FCPA fine from early January.
FCPA enforcement may have been down in 2013, but InsideCounsel’s coverage of FCPA issues has been as strong as ever: