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Former General Cable exec settles FCPA allegations

A former senior vice president at General Cable Corporate settled SEC allegations Thursday that he caused FCPA violations and knowingly circumvented internal accounting controls by approving excessive commission payments to a third-party agent in Angola.

Karl Zimmer didn’t admit or deny the SEC findings. He agreed to pay a $20,000 penalty.

General Cable agreed Thursday to pay the DOJ and SEC $75.75 million to resolve FCPA violations in Angola, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Indonesia, and Thailand.

The SEC said Zimmer approved commission payments to the Angola agent totalling just over $342,000. The payments were nearly double General Cable’s prescribed limits on third-party commissions.

The agent didn’t perform any documented services for some of the payments, the SEC said.

When Zimmer approved the payments, the SEC said, General Cable had already launched an investigation “of potentially improper payments to the agent.” The company had “prohibited the payment of past due commissions to the agent while the investigation was pending and without further approval.”

In an internal administrative order (pdf), the SEC said the commission payments Zimmer approved violated General Cable’s Code of Ethics, company policies against excessive payments to third-parties, and executive management’s instructions.

The SEC order said,

By approving these commissions, Zimmer caused GCC’s violations of the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (“FCPA”), and knowingly circumvented a number of GCC’s internal accounting controls.

Zimmer, 40, lives in Douglas, Georgia. His employment with General Cable ended in January 2015.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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