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US DOJ likely to visit India for Mondelez bribery case, confirms CBI

The case may also pit two of the most celebrated FCPA personalities against each other — Daniel Kahn who joined the DOJ in 2010 and Mark Mendelsohn who left the department in the same year for private practice.

By Franchise India Bureau
US DOJ likely to visit India for Mondelez bribery case, confirms CBI

It has been a long-running battle for snack maker Mondelez International, Inc. The company, maker of button-shaped Gems candy-chocolate and Dairy Milk chocolate bars, has been trying to convince the US and Indian regulators for seven years that allegations of it having set up a phantom factory in Himachal Pradesh and paid bribes to regularise it were just that — mere allegations.

According to a source at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a team from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is likely to visit India in the next few days to interview former and current employees of Mondelez India, formerly Cadbury India.

Apart from an anti-corruption unit of the CBI assisting DOJ, the Indian agency’s local unit in Himachal Pradesh and India’s Central Vigilance Commission are also conducting separate investigations under the Indian Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988.

The case may also pit two of the most celebrated FCPA personalities against each other — Daniel Kahn who joined the DOJ in 2010 and Mark Mendelsohn who left the department in the same year for private practice.

Peter Carr in the office of public affairs, DOJ, said, "As a matter of policy, the department generally neither confirms nor denies whether a matter is under investigation."

The spokesperson of the company said, "We continue to cooperate with all authorities to address this matter, which relates back to 2010-11, through the administrative and judicial process. This includes providing our executives with appropriate legal support during the process. We firmly believe that the decision to claim excise tax benefit is valid and that our executives acted in good faith and within the law in the decision to claim excise benefit in respect of our plant in Baddi. We are not aware of any criminal proceedings having been initiated by any authority against our company or ex-employees."

The CBI source said DOJ officials may visit India soon and the employees would be called then for interviews.

Related: ​Mondelez International Inc. to pay USD 13 million for violation of FCPA

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