U.S. firm to pay $ 300,000 to resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations in the Philippines

The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed a settled civil action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia charging Con-way Inc. (“Con-way”), a San Mateo, California international freight transportation company, with violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

According to the complaint, a Philippines-based firm controlled by Con-way made approximately $ 417,000 in improper payments to numerous foreign government officials between 2000 and 2003. Without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission’s complaint, Con-way agreed to pay a $ 300,000 civil penalty.

The complaint alleges that Emery Transnational, a Manila, Philippines-based firm engaged in shipping and freight operations in the Philippines, was controlled by a wholly-owned, U.S.-based subsidiary of Con-way. The complaint further alleges that between 2000 and 2003, Emery Transnational made approximately $ 244,000 in improper payments to foreign officials at the Philippines Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Economic Zone Area. The complaint alleges that these payments were made to induce these foreign officials to violate customs regulations, settle customs disputes, and reduce or not enforce otherwise legitimate fines for administrative violations.

The complaint also alleges that, during this period, Emery Transnational made approximately $ 173,000 in improper payments to foreign officials at fourteen state-owned airlines that conducted business in the Philippines. The complaint alleges that these payments were made to induce airline officials to improperly reserve space for Emery Transnational on the airplanes, to falsely under-weigh shipments, and to improperly consolidate multiple shipments into a single shipment, resulting in lower shipping charges.

According to the complaint, none of the improper payments made by Emery Transnational were accurately reflected in Con-way’s books and records, and Con-way knowingly failed to implement a system of internal accounting controls concerning Emery Transnational that would both ensure that Emery Transnational complied with the FCPA and require that the payments it made to foreign officials were accurately reflected on its books and records.

As a result of the conduct described above, the Commission’s complaint alleges violations of Sections 13(b)(2)(A), 13(b)(2)(B), and 13(b)(5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

In a related administrative proceeding, the Commission today issued a settled cease-and-desist order against Con-way finding that Con-way violated the books and records and internal controls provisions of the Exchange Act in connection with the improper payments made by Emery Transnational. Without admitting or denying the Commission’s findings, Con-way consented to the issuance of an order that requires Con-way to cease and desist from committing or causing any violations and any future violations of Sections 13(b)(2)(A), 13(b)(2)(B), and 13(b)(5) of the Exchange Act.

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Source: U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, Aug 27, 2008

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