The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation has agreed to pay more than $9 million to resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act charges arising from improper payments made by two Chinese subsidiaries.
According to the SEC’s order, the two Chinese subsidiaries used third-party agents to make unlawful payments to obtain data vital to Dun & Bradstreet’s business as a provider of business financial information. One subsidiary, part of a joint venture with a Chinese company, acquired non-public financial statement information on Chinese entities, in violation of Chinese law, by making unlawful payments to Chinese government officials. The second subsidiary made improper payments to third parties to acquire non-public personal data in violation of Chinese law that was used in its products and also made improper payments to obtain specific business. These improper payments were falsely recorded as legitimate business expenses. Despite concerns raised during pre-acquisition due diligence efforts, Dun & Bradstreet failed to take appropriate action to stop the improper payments or the false entries into the subsidiary’s books and records, which continued for several years post-acquisition.
The SEC’s order found that Dun & Bradstreet violated Sections 13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Without admitting or denying the allegations, the company agreed to pay disgorgement of $6,077,820, prejudgment interest of $1,143,664, and a civil penalty of $2 million.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Michael Catoe, Paul W. Sharratt, and Sonali Singh of the FCPA Unit and supervised by Robert I. Dodge. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Justice Department’s Fraud Section, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Source: Security & Exchange Commission