Beauty goods company Avon has been fined $135 million by the SEC for bribing Chinese officials.
The Securities & Exchange Commission alleged that Avon’s subsidiary in China paid out as much as $8 million in bribes — from cash, Gucci bags, Tiffany pens, and travel — to officials in charge of new regulations to sell directly to consumers. The company is accused of falsely recording the bribes as employee business expenses or vendor payments.
According to a SEC statement obtained by CNN Money, the luxury bribes, which included Louis Vuitton goods and box tickets to the China Open, helped Avon win one of the first direct-selling business licenses in China.
Avon has agreed to have a corporate compliance monitor for at least 18 months as part of the settlement with the SEC and Justice Department, according to a company statement.
The New York-based company brings in $10 billion in annual revenue and has 6 million sales representatives globally, according to the company website.