Thursday, July 31, 2014

SEC Charges Smith & Wesson With FCPA Violations

Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation has been charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) when employees and representatives of the U.S.-based parent company authorized and made improper payments to foreign officials while trying to win contracts to supply firearm products to military and law enforcement overseas.
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Smith & Wesson, which profited by more than $100,000 from the one contract that was completed before the unlawful activity was identified, has agreed to pay $2 million to settle the SEC’s charges.  The company must report to the SEC on its FCPA compliance efforts for a period of two years.
According to the SEC’s order instituting a settled administrative proceeding, the Springfield, Mass.-based firearms manufacturer sought to break into new markets overseas starting in 2007 and continuing into early 2010.  During that period, Smith & Wesson’s international sales staff engaged in a pervasive effort to attract new business by offering, authorizing, or making illegal payments or providing gifts meant for government officials in Pakistan, Indonesia, and other foreign countries.
“This is a wake-up call for small and medium-size businesses that want to enter into high-risk markets and expand their international sales,” said Kara Brockmeyer, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit.  “When a company makes the strategic decision to sell its products overseas, it must ensure that the right internal controls are in place and operating.”  

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