The biggest spirits stories of 2020

14th January, 2021 by Nicola Carruthers

Beam Suntory’s bribe fine

Jim Beam

Jim Beam owner Beam Suntory was hit with a US$19.6 million fine in October over a bribery investigation into its Indian subsidiary.

Beam Suntory entered into an agreement with the US Department of Justice to conclude the government’s inquiry into conduct by the US drinks group and its Indian business, which was disclosed in 2012. From 2006 until the end of Q3 in 2012, Beam’s Indian arm paid bribes to various Indian government executives, including corrupt payments to gain or retain business in India.

During the period, a bribe of one million Indian rupees (around US$18,000 at the time) was paid to a senior Indian government official in exchange for a licence to bottle ready‐to‐drink products.

Beam Suntory said it had dismissed workers who violated the firm’s code of ethics, and stopped all commercial activity in India until it was satisfied the business was compliant.

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