South Africa's Net 1 falls on news of US Justice Department probe

Tue Dec 4, 2012 10:33am EST

Dec 4 (Reuters) - South Africa's Net 1 UEPS Technologies Inc said the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether the company had violated provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, sending its shares down 53 percent to a life low.

The Johannesburg-based company said it received a letter from the DOJ on Nov. 30 informing it that the department and the FBI are investigating whether the company had made corrupt payments to South African government officials to secure a contract with the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).

One of the company's units won the contract from the SASSA in January, making it the sole provider of social welfare distribution services in South Africa.

The agencies will also investigate if Net 1 violated federal securities laws in connection with statements made in its SEC filings regarding the SASSA contract.

The company also received a letter from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on an investigation initiated against it, Net 1 said in a regulatory statement.

Net 1 said it intends to cooperate fully with the DOJ and the SEC on the investigations.

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