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Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Allegations Prompt Tyson Foods to Pay $5.2M

February 14, 2011

Tyson Foods, Inc. paid Mexican officials bribes to get their chicken past inspections and across the border for import into the United States, says DoJ.  “Tyson Foods used false books and sham jobs to hide bribe payments made to publicly-employed meat processing plant inspectors in Mexico,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer. As a result of the scheme, Tyson will pay $4 million to the United States to resolve criminal allegations and $1.2 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to DoJ:

As part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the department, Tyson acknowledged responsibility for the actions of its subsidiaries, employees and agents who made improper payments to government-employed veterinarians who inspected two of its chicken processing plants in Gomez Palacio, Mexico.
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Any company that exports meat products from Mexico must participate in an inspection program, supervised by the Mexican Department of Agriculture. According to court documents, the inspection program at each facility is supervised by an on-site veterinarian employed by the government of Mexico to ensure that all exports conform to Mexican health and safety laws.
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According to documents filed in court, Tyson’s Mexican subsidiary, Tyson de Mexico, paid approximately $90,000 between 2004 and 2006, to two publicly-employed veterinarians who inspected its Mexican plants, resulting in profits of approximately $880,000.

Under the Dodd-Frank Act passed in July of last year, securities fraud whistleblowers are entitled to between 10-30% of SEC recoveries for original information prompting “any judicial or administrative action brought by the commission under the securities laws that results in monetary sanctions exceeding $1,000,000.”

To report Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations or other Securities Fraud, contact Frohsin & Barger.

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