Formula One is an exciting spectacle. Unfathomable speed, exotic locations, and ultra-luxury brands make for a compelling fan experience without mentioning all the behind-the-scenes drama. F1 enthusiasts worldwide come together each race day to cheer on their drivers and teams. Some of Aston Martin’s F1 sponsors, however, have another thing in common. The FCPA.
Title Partner: Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation
In 2019, Cognizant paid $25 million to settle FCPA charges with the SEC, and the DOJ charged two of the company’s former executives for paying bribes to an Indian government official.
The SEC said that in 2014, a senior government official of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu demanded a $2 million bribe from the construction firm responsible for building Cognizant’s 2.7 million square-foot campus in Chennai.
Cognizant’s president Gordon Coburn, and chief legal officer Steven E. Schwartz, authorized the contractor to pay the bribe and directed their subordinates to conceal the bribe by doctoring the contractor’s change orders, the DOJ said.
Coburn and Schwartz were charged in a 12-count indictment with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, three counts of violating the FCPA, seven counts of falsifying books and records, and one count of circumventing and failing to implement internal accounting controls.
Coburn and Schwartz have pleaded not guilty to all the charges in the indictment.
In 2019, Sridhar Thiruvengadam, the former chief operating officer of Cognizant, settled charges that he violated the FCPA by helping to bribe an Indian government official and then covering up the payment. Thiruvengadam paid a penalty of $50,000 and agreed to cooperate with the SEC.
Cognizant received a declination from the DOJ.
Global Partner: Juniper Networks
Juniper Networks paid the SEC $11.7 million in 2019 to settle FCPA offenses related to its sales practices in Russia and China.
In China, from 2009 through 2013, Juniper Networks sales employees of the company’s Chinese subsidiaries falsified trip and meeting agendas for customers, including public officials, that understated the real value of entertainment involved on the trips.
From 2008 through 2013, sales employees of the Russian Juniper subsidiary, JNN Development Corp. (JNN), secretly agreed with third-party partners to increase the discount on sales without passing those discounts on to customers. The off-book funds were referred to as “common funds” and were directed partially by JNN sales reps. Use of the “common funds” included travel for foreign officials to various locations where there were no Juniper facilities or industry conferences related to Juniper’s business, the SEC said.
Juniper Networks said that in late 2017 the DOJ notified it “that the DOJ has closed its investigation related to these matters without taking any action” against the company.
Global Partner: Bombardier, Inc.
In 2017, Bombardier disclosed an investigation into bribery allegations concerning a 2013 contract for the supply of signaling equipment and services to Azerbaijan Railways ADY. The investigation involved the DOJ, Swedish authorities, and the World Bank, according to data from FCPA Tracker.
In 2020, the UK Serious Fraud Office opened an investigation into Bombardier related to operations in Indonesia, including the 2011-2012 acquisition and lease of Bombardier CRJ1000 aircraft by Garuda Indonesia, the national airline.
In a February 2021 statement, Bombardier disclosed that its counsel had received a request from the DOJ for documents and information regarding the Garuda Transactions, according to data from FCPA Tracker.
The investigations are ongoing.
Let’s go, Seb!