US food and beverage packaging manufacturer announces possible FCPA violations

On September 8, 2020, Pactiv Evergreen Inc., an Illinois-based distributor and manufacturer of food and beverage packaging products, disclosed in a securities filing for its initial public offering that its beverage merchandising arm in China, Evergreen Packaging Shanghai (EPS), may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Pactiv reported that in August 2020, as part of an internal investigation conducted by outside counsel and forensic accountants, Pactiv had identified conduct that potentially violated the FCPA.  Specifically, the investigation determined that the subsidiary had “occasional[ly]” given gift cards of “minor monetary value” to Chinese government regulators and employees of state-owned companies over the course of “several years.”  Pactiv also disclosed that “external consultants” engaged by EPS may have made improper payments to government regulators in exchange for the regulators not taking actions adverse to EPS.   

According to the Form S-1, the giving of gift cards and the engagement of “any such consultants” has stopped, and Pactiv has implemented remedial procedures in order to prevent these practices going forward.  Pactiv also voluntarily self-disclosed the investigation’s findings to the US Department of Justice and US Securities and Exchange Commission
. The company also stated it is fully cooperating with both agencies.  

Form S-1

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