On May 6, 2021, Pactiv Evergreen Inc., an Illinois-based distributor and manufacturer of food and beverage packaging products, disclosed in a securities filing that the US Department of Justice had closed its investigation into potential misconduct by the company’s China-based beverage merchandising subsidiary, Evergreen Packaging Shanghai (EPS).
Pactiv had disclosed on September 8, 2020 that it was conducting an internal investigation into certain practices at EPS, and in August 2020 had identified EPS practices that were potentially in violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In particular, Pactiv had determined that EPS “occasional[ly]” gave gift cards of “minor monetary value” to Chinese government regulators and employees of state-owned companies over the course of several years. Pactiv stated that it had voluntarily self-reported this conduct to the DOJ and the US Securities and Exchange Commission in September 2020.
In its May 6, 2021 filing, Pactiv stated that the gift cards at issue had been provided on holidays and “for generalized goodwill purposes only.” Pactiv further stated that it had initiated remedial measures, including discontinuing the provision of gift cards. Pactiv presented its findings to the DOJ and SEC in February 2021, and -- according to Pactiv -- the DOJ subsequently decided to close its file without taking any action against the company. The SEC investigation remains open, and Pactiv noted that it intends to cooperate fully with the SEC.