In March 2019, Russia’s biggest mobile phone company paid $850 million in penalties to the DOJ and SEC to resolve FCPA violations and entered into a two-year deferred prosecution agreement. Last week, the company agreed to extend the DPA by a year.
The SEC alleged in the 2019 enforcement action that MTS paid $420 million in bribes to an Uzbek official related to the former president of Uzbekistan to secure business.
MTS’ settlement with the SEC included the requirement to retain a monitor for at least 36 months.
In a March 3 filing with the SEC, the company didn’t give a specific reason for the voluntary extension but cited “a variety of factors,” including the Covid-19 pandemic.
MTS said it has not received any notice of a breach of the DPA from the SEC, DOJ, or its monitor.
Here’s the excerpt from the MTS 8-K:
We have not received notice from the SEC, the DOJ or the monitor of any breach of the terms of the DPA or the Order. However, given a variety of factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, we have agreed to a one-year extension of the DPA and the monitorship with the DOJ and the SEC to (i) provide us with adequate time to implement necessary enhancements to certain critical components of our anti-corruption compliance and ethics program and (ii) allow the monitor sufficient time to be able to complete its review of our remedial efforts, including our implementation of the monitor’s recommendations and an assessment of the sustainability of our remedial actions. The term of the monitorship will continue until September 2023.