Automated teller machine maker NCR Corp. has agreed to settle charges of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and U.S. sanctions violations. In 2012, a whistleblower accused the company's board members and executives of violating U.S. sanctions in Syria and bribing government officials in China and the Middle East. As part of the settlement, NCR Corp. will be required to strengthen its risk and compliance program, including increased compliance training for company employees and those who work with the company. It must also develop a China-specific supplement to chart the company’s gifts and entertainment expenditures within the country, and implement a process to monitor company-wide gift and entertainment expenditures.
Although the company admits no fault through the settlement, it faced significant penalties for these alleged violations. Global aluminum producer Alcoa, Inc. recently agreed to a $384 million settlement in response to FCPA charges. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has been increasingly aggressive in its scrutiny of transactions involving countries subject to U.S. economic sanctions and imposing stiffer penalties for violations.
Employee training is an important component of compliance, as recognized by the required training in NCR Corp.'s settlement. Businesses can avoid similar oversight and significant penalties by ensuring that all employees understand applicable laws, their role in compliance and how to avoid violations.