May 8, 2020 / 7:21 PM / 23 days ago

Herbalife to pay $123 million to settle China bribery allegations

FILE PHOTO: A Herbalife sign is shown on a building in Los Angeles, California, U.S. October 19,2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - Herbalife Nutrition Ltd will likely pay U.S. authorities $123 million to settle bribery allegations related to the company’s business in China, a regulatory filing showed on Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission have been investigating the involvement of the multilevel marketing company’s Chinese unit in an alleged decade-long scheme to bribe Chinese government officials to win business and evade regulatory scrutiny.

The bribes were intended to help Los Angeles-based Herbalife obtain direct selling licenses, reduce government scrutiny of its Chinese operations, and suppress negative coverage by state-controlled media, authorities have said.

Under the tentative settlement, Herbalife said it would enter a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice, which would defer criminal prosecution of the company on charges related to a conspiracy to violate the books and records provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for three years. (hrbl.me/35J2Qkl)

If the company meets the terms of the agreement and submits compliance reports to the SEC, the charge would be dismissed with prejudice, Herbalife said.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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