Maker of Jim Beam whiskey accused of bribing govt officials

NEW DELHI, JUL 4 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 7/5/2018 12:16:23 AM IST
The maker of Jim Beam bourbon whiskey, Beam Suntory, will be doling out more than $8 million (Rs 55 crore) as penalty after US regulators found it was allegedly bribing government officials in India to make inroads into the burgeoning market.
The whisky-maker’s Indian subsidiary reportedly bribed officials to speed up process pertaining to acquiring licenses and distribution, the US Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement.
The development comes as a blotch in the over 200-year old history of Jim Beam. The company, which is credited with giving birth to ‘bourbon whiskey’, brands its product as ‘World’s finest’ and boasts of Hollywood actor Mila Kunis as its brand ambassador. According to the statement, “from 2006 through 2012, Beam’s Indian subsidiary used third-party sales promoters and distributors to make illicit payments to government employees to increase sales orders, process license and label registrations, and facilitate the distribution of Beam’s distilled spirit products”.
The parties involved reportedly received kick-backs through escalated bills and the expenditure incurred was fudged at the subsidiary level.
While Beam has not accepted or denied the allegations, it issued a statement saying that it is “committed to doing business the right way everywhere they we operate.”
The company has agreed to cooperate in an investigation by the US Department of Justice and put in place an internal enquiry.

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