Quad/Graphics to pay $10m bribery fine

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The world’s biggest printer has been slugged with a US$10m fine to settle bribery and sanction busting charges, although with revenue exceeding US$4bn the fine is seen as little more than a slap on the wrist.

Fined US$10m: Quad Graphics
Fined US$10m: Quad Graphics

Quad/Graphics will stump up the millions of dollars to settle charges brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it bribed clients in both Peru and China, and that it violated US sanctions through its work with a Cuban telecomms business.

However the company has neither admitted nor denied any wrongdoing. And in what is seen as a win it is not being charged by the US Justice Department. Quad/Graphics referred itself to the relevant authorities, claiming it was the work of a few individuals rather than systemic.

The company generated work to the value of between US$95m and $135m from Peru, although its strategy has been less successful in China, where it has only produced between $2m and $3m worth of work.

According to the SEC, the Quad/Graphics Peruvian unit paid bribes to government officials to win business, and funnelled bribes to influence judges involved in a company tax dispute there.

Quad/Graphics engaged in business with the Cuban telecoms outfit through its Peruvian business, and allegedly violated the US foreign corrupt practices act by creating false records to conceal these transactions.

Its Chinese business unit allegedly used sham sales agents to pay bribes to employees of customers to win business in China.

Winning large overseas contracts through financial inducements is not unknown here, with Reserve Bank subsidiaries Note Printing Australia and Securency copping a massive $21m fine a year ago for bribing officials in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Quad/Graphics revenue last year was US$4.2bn, up slightly from the previous year, with an EBITDA of US$373.4m, down by US$75m from the year prior.

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