The US-based multinational confectionery giant Mondelez , maker of Cadbury chocolates and Oreo biscuits, faces potential enforcement action in the US for alleged bribing of government officials with regard to permissions for factory in India.
The Company has disclosed the potential action by the markets regulator SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) in a regulatory filing. It also said it is contesting show cause notices by the excise department in India that has demanded from it unpaid taxes and penalties.
In the filing made with the SEC, Mondelez International said the investigation under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) relates to a facility in India, which it had acquired as part of the Cadbury takeover. According to FCPA, US based companies doing business outside America are strictly prohibited against paying bribes to Foreign government officials and such act attracts strict punishment in the US.
Cadbury was acquired in 2010 by the erstwhile Kraft Foods after a long takeover battle, which later adopted a new name, Mondelez International. However, Cadbury brand name has been retained for various products.
Mondelez said it had first received a subpoena from the SEC under FCPA regarding the Indian plant in February 2011, wherein the company was asked to provide information regarding dealings with Indian governmental agencies and officials to obtain approvals related to the operation of that facility.
“We are continuing to cooperate with the US and Indian governments in their investigations of these matters, including through ongoing meetings with the US government to discuss potential conclusion of US government investigation.
“On 11th February 2016, we received a ‘Wells’ notice from the SEC indicating that the staff has made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against us for violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions of the Exchange Act in connection with the investigation.
“We intend to make a submission to the staff of the SEC in response to the notice,” the company said. SEC issues a ‘Wells’ notice to individuals or companies against whom it plans to bring an enforcement action.