Photo: Ralph Lauren Ends Argentine Bribery Case
Ralph Lauren Corp. has agreed to pay the U.S. government more than $1.6 million in fines to settle bribery allegations in Argentina.
The settlement originated from charges that the fashion and home retailing giant bribed Argentine officials to avoid custom and inspection requirements in that country.
The New York States Attorney alleged the retailer through their RLC Argentina subsidiary attempted to secure improper customs clearance of their merchandise over a five-year period. In some cases they sought to avoid the inspection process completely and/or try to bring prohibited merchandise into Argentina. The U.S. alleged the company used fake invoices to hide the bribe payments of nearly $600,000.
The fine breaks down to $882,000 in penalties and $730,000 return of “illicit profits” in Argentina from 2004-2009. The company avoided harsher fines or prosecution due to the full cooperation they offered and for bringing the matter to the government’s attention when they discovered it, according to the Department of Justice.
The company headed by its founder, Ralph Lauren, agreed to pay the fine and agreed to be routinely monitored to assure it is in compliance with customs and trade laws. The publicly traded company’s 2012 revenues totaled $6.9 Billion.