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US SEC imposes fine on Bio-Rad over FCPA violations

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has imposed a fine on clinical diagnostic and life science research company Bio-Rad Laboratories for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Bio-Rad agreed to pay $55m to settle the SEC’s charges, which included $40.7m in disgorgement and prejudgment interest to the SEC and a $14.35m criminal fine to the Department of Justice.

In addition, the company has to report its FCPA compliance efforts to the SEC for a period of two years.

SEC enforcement division director Andrew Ceresney said: "Bio-Rad Laboratories failed to detect a bribery scheme and did not properly address red flags that such a scheme was underway.

"This enforcement action, which reflects credit for Bio-Rad’s cooperation in our investigation, reiterates the importance of all companies ensuring they have the proper internal controls to prevent FCPA violations."

Bio-Rad’s subsidiaries were involved in improper payments to foreign officials in Russia, Vietnam, and Thailand, in a bid to secure business.

The investigation of SEC revealed that Bio-Rad lacked sufficient internal controls to prevent or detect around $7.5m in bribes, which were paid during a five-year period.

According to SEC, the improper payments allowed the company to earn around $35m in illicit profits.