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Aon Pays $16.2 Million In Settlement

Aon Corporation, one of the biggest insurance brokerage firms in the world, agreed today to resolve FCPA charges with the DOJ and SEC.

It will pay a $1.76 million criminal penalty to the DOJ and $14.5 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest to the SEC.

A U.K. subsidiary of Chicago-based Aon paid a penalty of £5.25 million to the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority in 2009 to resolve overseas bribery allegations. The fine was the largest the FSA had levied for financial crimes.

Citing Aon’s ‘extraordinary cooperation,’ the DOJ entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the company and its U.K. subsidiary, Aon Limited.

Aon’s subsidiaries, the SEC said, made over $3.6 million in improper payments between 1983 and 2007 to win or retain insurance business in Costa Rica, Egypt, Vietnam, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. The company made $11.4 million in profits from the bribes.

‘[S]ome of the improper payments,’ the SEC said, ‘were made directly or indirectly to foreign government officials who could award business directly to Aon subsidiaries, who were in position to influence others who could award business to Aon subsidiaries, or who could otherwise provide favorable business treatment for the company’s interests. . . . [T]hese payments were not accurately reflected in Aon’s books and records, and Aon failed to maintain an adequate internal control system reasonably designed to detect and prevent the improper payments.’

The improper payments were for training, travel, and entertainment provided to employees of foreign government-owned clients, and to ‘third-party facilitators.’

The DOJ said Aon was given a non-prosecution agreement because of ‘its timely and complete disclosure of improper payments in Costa Rica and other countries that it discovered during its thorough investigation of its global operations; its early and extensive remedial efforts; the prior financial penalty of £5.25 million that Aon Limited paid to the United Kingdom’s Financial Services Authority (FSA); and the FSA’s close and continuous supervisory oversight over Aon Limited.’

Aon Corporation trades on the NYSE under the symbol AON.

View the DOJ’s December 20, 2011 release here.

View the SEC’s Litigation Release No. 22203 and Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Release No. 3348 (both dated December 20, 2011) in Securities and Exchange Commission vs. Aon Corporation, Civil Action No. 1:11-cv-02256 (D.D.C.) (filed Dec. 20, 2011) here.

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