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U.S. Rejects Avon Products Inc's Offer TO End Bribe Investigation-DJ

Thursday, 1 Aug 2013 07:25pm EDT 

Dow Jones reported that Federal officials rejected Avon Product Inc.'s $12 million offer to settle a multiyear bribery probe, a lowball proposal for the beauty company that has spent more than a third of a billion dollars on the investigation. Avon said it is awaiting a counterproposal from the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission, which shot down the offer Avon said it made in June. In early discussions, Justice Department and SEC officials have expressed their belief that Avon's penalty should exceed $100 million, a person familiar with the matter said. Spokespeople for the Justice Department and the SEC declined to comment. Avon has said it is cooperating with the Justice Department and SEC. The bribery probe has dogged Avon since 2008, costing the Company at least $340 million in legal and other bills relating to an internal investigation, according to securities filings. Avon is probing whether it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by making payments or providing gifts to officials in China to secure licenses to sell its products there. The probe began after former CEO Andrea Jung got a tip. The investigation then spread to other countries, including key markets in Latin America. Avon hired Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP last year, and the firm has been leading the settlement negotiations, according to a person familiar with the matter. Law firm Arnold & Porter LLP conducted the board-supervised internal investigation. 

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