Tyson Foods Inc. will pay the federal government $4 million to resolve allegations that company officials paid nearly $100,000 in bribes to government-employed inspection veterinarians in Mexico, the Justice Department said today.
Prosecutors filed a two-count criminal information [.pdf] today in Washington’s federal trial court in connection to a deferred prosecution agreement [.pdf] against Tyson, which is based in Springdale, Ark. The government alleges Tyson, represented by Kirkland & Ellis, violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
DOJ lawyers said Tyson representatives made improper payments to government-employed veterinarians who inspected two of the company’s chicken processing plants in Gomez Palacio, Mexico. DOJ officials said Tyson took responsibility for the actions of its subsidiaries in Mexico. Click here for more background on the case.
“Tyson Foods used false books and sham jobs to hide bribe payments made to publicly-employed meat processing plant inspectors in Mexico,” Assistant Attorney General Breuer said in a prepared statement. “The penalty and resolution announced today reflect the company’s disclosure of this conduct, its cooperation with the government’s investigation and its commitment to implementing enhanced controls.”
A lawyer for Tysons, Kirland partner Laurence Urgenson, who practices in white-collar criminal defense and securities enforcement, was not immediately reached for comment this afternoon. Urgenson is a former chief of the Justice Department’s fraud section.