订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

管理

沃尔玛首席执行官因隐瞒贿赂情况被调查

Stephen Gandel 2012年04月26日

一般来说,美国的《反海外腐败法》极少用于公司高管,目前还没有任何美国大型企业的首席执行官被控违犯该法。但这种情况即将发生改变,沃尔玛公司(Wal-Mart’s)首席执行官迈克尔•杜克可能成为第一个遭受到该法指控的美国大公司老总。

沃尔玛首席执行官迈克尔•杜克

    律师和《反海外腐败法》专家表示,杜克和沃尔玛其他高管可能违犯了该法,因为他们在一份针对该公司墨西哥分部广泛存在的行贿受贿问题的调查报告上签字同意,而这份报告事实上充满漏洞。同时据报道,他和其他高管很久之前就得知这些贿赂行为,但他们在好几年后才将这些潜在的违法行为告知股东和政府监管机构。这也可能对杜克不利。根据《纽约时报》本周末的一篇报道,杜克2005年就发现了这些所谓的贿赂行为,但是直到《纽约时报》告知这家全球最大的零售商该报正在调查此事后,公司管理层才在去年12月份将问题汇报给执法机构。

    据报道,美国司法部正在对沃尔玛的贿赂指控进行刑事调查。证券交易委员也正对此展开调查。美国时间周一下午,众议院民主党人士表示他们也将调查沃尔玛的贿赂问题。

    美国司法部在指控公司高管贿赂案件方面表现得越来越积极,这是沃尔玛可能遭到指控的大背景。去年12月,美国政府曾经就公司贿赂问题对德国工业公司西门子(Siemens)的八名前任管理者提出指控,其中包括一名西门子核心管理层成员。全球性大公司的董事会成员被指控违反《反海外腐败法》,这还是第一次。大公司违反该法案的案例中有很多在最终解决时并未涉及个人。在过去五年里,政府提起的针对个人的此类案件逐渐增多,但有成有败,结果不一。

    卡普兰沃克律师事务所(Kaplan & Walker)的《反海外腐败法》专家杰弗瑞•卡普兰表示,“沃尔玛公司可能会被处以巨额罚款。而对于高管将做如何处理则很难说。如果公司管理者发现贿赂行为,他们必须按照要求做一些事情,但并不是太多。”

    在过去十年里,沃尔玛公司远远不是唯一一家身陷贿赂指控的大型公司。上世纪七十年代《反海外腐败法》就已出台,但公司管理者直到十年前才更为主动地依法行事,其中的原因主要是受到《萨班斯-奥克雷法案》(Sarbanes Oxley)和国际条约的制约。从那以后,司法部和证券交易委员会每年都会提起十来宗贿赂指控案件,其中一些涉及到大公司。去年,美国司法部官员表示,他们有超过150宗公开调查涉及到《反海外腐败法》。

    Lawyers and FCPA experts say that Duke and other top Wal-Mart officials may have violated the law when they allegedly signed off on a flawed investigation of widespread bribery at the company's Mexican division. Also potentially damaging for Duke is that it took years for Wal-Mart officials to tell shareholders and government regulators about the potential misdeeds, long after he and other top executives allegedly knew about the reported bribes. According to an article in the New York Times this weekend, Duke found out about the alleged bribes in 2005, but company officials only reportedly informed law enforcement officials about the potential abuses in December, which was after the Times says it told the world's largest retailer the paper was looking into the matter.

    The Department of Justice is reportedly conducting a criminal probe of the Wal-Mart bribery allegations. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating as well. On Monday afternoon, Democrats in the House of Representatives said they too would investigate the allegations of bribery by the retailer.

    The potential charges against Wal-Mart come at a time when the Justice Department is getting more aggressive in charging top executives in bribery cases. In December, the government charged eight former Siemens officials, including a former member of the German industrial company's central executive committee, in connection with bribery charges at that company. That was the first time a board member of a large global corporation was charged with a FCPA violation. Many FCPA violations at large companies are settled without naming individuals. In the past five years, the government has brought more FCPA cases against individuals, but those have only had mixed success.

    "Wal-Mart is facing potentially huge penalties," says Jeffrey Kaplan, a FCPA expert at law firm Kaplan & Walker. "It's harder to say for executives. Corporate officials are required to do something when they find out about bribery, but not that much."

    Wal-Mart would be far from the only large company ensnared by bribery charges under FPCA in the past decade. The law has been around since the 1970s, but officials, aided by Sarbanes Oxley and international treaties, started more aggressively bringing cases under the act about a decade ago. Since then the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have brought about a dozen cases a year alleging bribery. A number have involved large companies. Last year, DOJ officials said they had more than 150 open investigations involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

1 2 下一页

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏