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Beam launches India investigation

Illinois-based spirits company Beam Inc. is investigating possible FCPA violations in India, according to a report Friday by the Times of India.

Whistleblower complaints triggered the investigation into ‘excise duty violations, invoicing problems, and handing over distribution in some key markets,’ the report said.

A company spokesman confirmed the investigation.

‘Based on a routine internal audit of operations in India, we are taking a closer look at the actions of certain individuals and practices in the India business,’ according to an email from Clarkson Hine carried by Bloomberg.

Beam Inc. was formerly known as Fortune Brands, Inc. It changed its name and went public through an IPO a year ago. It trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BEAM.

Among its brands are Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Sauza, Courvoisier, Canadian Club, and Teacher’s.

Last year, London-based liquor giant Diageo plc paid the SEC more than $16 million to resolve FCPA offenses that stretched over six years and involved bribes to foreign officials in India, Thailand, and South Korea.

Another industry giant, Central European Distribution Corporation, said last week in an SEC filing that it had discovered FCPA violations, mainly tied to gift-giving. New Jersey-based CEDC is one of the world’s largest producers of vodka. Its main markets are Poland, Russia, and Hungary. CEDC’s stock trades on Nasdaq under the symbol CEDC.

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