Mr. Greg Lee, a former top executive at Tyson, may be one to gratefully raise his hand.
The New York Times reports that top executives at U.S. based Tyson International had knowingly been involved in criminal conspiracy to commit bribery, and falsify records to cover their tracks. Originally, the payments to key personnel (and their wives) were intended to circumvent quality export standards to foreign markets (not to the U.S. market)—at their poultry processing plants in Mexico.
Despite evidence available through internal memos identifying the conspirator’s (and the sums of money) involved, a decision was made at the Justice Department not to prosecute.
According to the Times article, two of the factors involved in the decision not to seek prosecution were the high litigation costs involved in foreign cases, and the difficulty in proving such cases. This, despite the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that lists bribery and maintaining fraudulent records as both felony acts, punishable under the statute: “fines of up to $5 million and a prison term of up to 20 years for individuals, as well as fines of up to $25 million for companies.”
Instead, Tyson settled with both the Justice Department and the S.E.C. for $5.2 million dollars, and voluntary dealt internally with those who were involved. One of the alleged conspirator’s, Greg Lee, was asked to retire early, and provided by Tyson with:
“nearly $1 million when he retired and awarded him a 10-year consulting contract providing an additional $3.6 million in compensation. Mr. Lee continues to be reimbursed for country club dues and use of a car, and enjoys “personal use of the company-owned aircraft for up to 100 hours per year,” according to his employment agreement.”
Here’s a link to the original post: Writing a Check to Make a Bribery Charge Go Away