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Qualcomm’s Whistleblower Woes

San Diego-based Qualcomm Incorporated said this week it is under investigation by the SEC and DOJ for FCPA compliance.

Qualcomm learned about the DOJ investigation late last month. It said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California ‘has begun a preliminary investigation regarding the Company’s compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.’ It didn’t identify what business units or countries are involved or the amounts of any alleged sensitive payments.

The SEC began an investigation in September 2010 following a whistleblower complaint a year earlier.

Qualcomm provides wireless technology and services. Revenues last year were about $15 billion. It operates primarily in China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and the United States.

Qualcomm Incorporated trades on NASDAQ under the symbol QCOM.

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The complete FCPA disclosure in Qualcomm’s Form 10-Q Quarterly Report filed February 1, 2012 said:

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Formal Order of Private Investigation and Department of Justice (DOJ) Investigation: On September 8, 2010, the Company was notified by the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional office of a formal order of private investigation. The Company understands that the investigation arose from a “whistleblower’s” allegations made in December 2009 to the audit committee of the Company’s  Board of Directors and to the SEC. The audit committee completed an internal review of the allegations with the assistance of independent counsel and independent forensic accountants. This internal review into the whistleblower’s allegations and related accounting practices did not identify any errors in the Company’s financial statements. On January 27, 2012, the Company learned that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California/DOJ has begun a preliminary investigation regarding the Company’s compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a topic about which the SEC is also inquiring. The Company believes that it is in compliance with the requirements of the FCPA and will continue to cooperate with both agencies.

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