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Agilent discloses China compliance problem, investigation

Agilent Technologies disclosed that employees in China working with third-party intermediaries may have violated the company’s business conduct policy and the FCPA.

Santa Clara, California-based Agilent makes testing and measurement equipment used in the medical industry.

The company trades on the NYSE under the symbol A.

It was founded by Bill Hewlett and David Packard and was spun out of HP in 1999 in one of the biggest IPOs at the time in Silicon Valley.

The company said an audit uncovered problems with some sales practices in China.

It made a voluntary disclosure to the SEC and the DOJ about its internal investigation on September 5, it said.

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Here’s the full disclosure from the Form 10-Q filed by Agilent Technologies, Inc. on September 6, 2013:

As part of routine internal audit activities, the Company determined that certain employees of Agilent’s subsidiaries in China did not comply with the Company’s Standards of Business Conduct and other policies. Based on those findings, the Company has initiated an internal investigation, with the assistance of outside counsel, relating to certain sales of our products through third party intermediaries in China. The internal investigation includes a review of compliance by our employees in China with the requirements of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other applicable laws and regulations. On September 5, 2013, the Company voluntarily contacted the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and United States Department of Justice to advise both agencies of this internal investigation. We will cooperate with any government investigation of this matter. At this point, we cannot predict or estimate the duration, scope, cost, or result of this matter, or whether the government will commence any legal action, which could result in possible fines and penalties, criminal or civil sanctions, or other consequences. Accordingly, no provision with respect to these matters has been made in the Company’s consolidated financial statements. Adverse findings or other negative outcomes from any governmental proceedings could have a material impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements in future periods.

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Richard L. Cassin is the Publisher and Editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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