Ralph Lauren pays feds $1.6M to settle bribery charges

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The company is settling two separate but parallel charges for the crimes, one with the SEC for $734,000, and another with the Department of Justice for $882,000. Both of the charges are for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law that protects against bribery of foreign officials.

Officials praised the company's response. "When they found a problem, Ralph Lauren Corporation did the right thing by immediately reporting it to the SEC and providing exceptional assistance in our investigation," said George Canellos, the acting director of the SEC's enforcement division, in a statement.

"Ralph Lauren Corporation discovered this problem after it put in place an enhanced compliance program and began training its employees. That level of self-policing along with its self-reporting and cooperation led to this resolution," added the SEC chief of enforcement for the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Kara Brockmeyer.

The Ralph Lauren case is the first non-prosecution agreement that the SEC has entered involving the 1977 anti-bribery law.

"The conduct at the Argentina subsidiary was wholly inconsistent with the culture of compliance and integrity that we have worked diligently to establish and, as our reaction demonstrates, such conduct is not and will not be tolerated at Ralph Lauren Corporation," said a statement from the company.

Aside from the fines, Ralph Lauren has also agreed to report compliance information to the Department of Justice to strengthen internal controls.