A Kentucky wire manufacturer agreed to pay a $20.5 million fine to U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Thursday, in efforts to settle a lawsuit that claimed the company bribed officials in Angola, Bangladesh and China.
Founded over 170 years ago, Kentucky-based General Cable Corporation has become one of the largest wire and cable manufacturers in the world. Due to its global client base, General Cable is in constant communication with foreign businesses and governments. Federal prosecutors claim that some of General Cable’s communications and deals the firm struck were downright illegal, alleging the firm bribed foreign officials to receive undue business advantages over competitors.
General Cable admitted in a court agreement signed Thursday that company executives knew about the bribes, Reuters reports. DOJ officials said they took a more lenient stance with General Cable, because the company blew the whistle on itself. In recent years, the Justice Department tried to incentivize companies to come forward with instances of bribery, offering lighter penalties for those that cooperate.
The cable manufacturer “voluntarily self-disclosed this misconduct,” and “fully cooperated,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell told reporters. “This resolution demonstrates the very real upside to coming in and cooperating with federal prosecutors.”
The Kentucky firm must also cough up $51.2 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for breaching the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and for separate accounting and disclosure issues. In total, General Cable will remit a whopping $82.3 million to the DOJ and SEC combined. The roughly $20 million penalty will be paid to the DOJ by the first quarter of 2017.
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