US probes bribery charge against Cadbury in India | business | Hindustan Times
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US probes bribery charge against Cadbury in India

business Updated: Mar 04, 2011 19:56 IST

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has opened a foreign bribery investigation into Kraft Foods Inc about its India operations, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing.

The makers of macaroni-and-cheese dinners, Philadelphia cream cheese, Maxwell House coffee, Oreo cookies and other household products said in its annual report it had received a subpoena from the SEC Feb 1 seeking information about its Cadbury manufacturing plant in India.

In India, Cadbury has five factories located in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

The agency is examining potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the company said, which bars firms from paying bribes to foreign government officials. The inquiry relates to a facility Kraft acquired when it bought the chocolate maker Cadbury last year, the world's second biggest food company said.

The SEC asked for information about the company's contact with Indian government agencies and officials on "approvals related to the operation of the facility," the company said.

Kraft said it began reviewing the UK-based Cadbury's operations for food safety, FCPA and antitrust concerns after its acquisition of the company in February 2010.

Through the review, Kraft said it uncovered "facts and circumstances warranting further investigation" in "certain jurisdictions" that included India.

"We have undertaken these investigations, which are ongoing," the company said.

Kraft said it did not expect the "ultimate costs" to resolve the matter would impact its financial results.