Williams & Connolly, Cleary Guide ADM to $54 Million FCPA Pact

, The Litigation Daily

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Archer Daniels Midland Company Inc. has agreed to pay more than $54 million in civil and criminal penalties to settle charges stemming from bribes its foreign subsidiaries paid between 2002 and 2008 to Ukrainian government officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. ADM was represented by Williams & Connolly, and ADM’s affiliate Alfred C. Toepfer International was represented by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

According to the complaint filed Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, ADM's Ukranian subsidiaries paid about $22 million to third-party vendors who, in turn, passed on nearly all that money to Ukrainian officials to get the company more than $100 million in value added tax (VAT) refunds. The company agreed to pay more than $36 million to settle the SEC's charges that it violated the record-keeping and internal controls requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The settlement is subject to judicial approval. According to the docket, the case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Harold Baker in Urbana, Ill.

Documents in the DOJ's criminal case weren't available at press time. But according to the DOJ's press release a subsidiary of ADM pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA and agreed to pay $17.8 million in criminal fines. The company also entered into a non-prosecution agreement in connection with its failure to adopt adequate financial controls to deal with bribes in both the Ukraine and an ADM joint venture in Venezuela.

Williams & Connolly's William Bachman didn't respond to our call. The company issued a statement from chairman and CEO Patricia Woertz noting that ADM had undertaken an internal investigation of these problems and voluntarily disclosed them to U.S. and foreign government agencies. Woertz said the company had "taken disciplinary action, including termination, with a number of employees."

"The conduct that led to this settlement was regrettable, but I believe we handled our response in the right way, and that the steps we took, including self-reporting, underscore our commitment to conducting business ethically and responsibly," Woertz said.

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