As highlighted in this prior post, in October 2015 Millicom, a telecom and media company headquartered in Luxembourg with shares traded on a U.S. exchange, disclosed:
“Millicom … announced that it has reported to law enforcement authorities in the United States and Sweden potential improper payments made on behalf of the company’s joint venture in Guatemala. A Special Committee of the Board of Directors made the decision in connection with an independent investigation being overseen by the Special Committee and conducted by international law firm Covington & Burling LLP, with the support of Millicom’s management team. Millicom is committed to fully cooperating with the authorities. It is not possible at this time to predict the matter’s likely duration or outcome. Millicom is committed to the highest ethical business standards and to full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in every market in which the company operates.”
As highlighted in this prior post, in April 2018 Millicom disclosed:
“In October 2015, Millicom voluntarily reported to the U.S. Department of Justice potential improper payments made on behalf of the company’s joint venture in Guatemala and, since then, has cooperated fully with the Justice Department’s investigation. Yesterday, the Justice Department informed Millicom that it is closing its investigation. Millicom is committed to the highest ethical business standards and to full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in every market in which the company operates.”
Given that Millicom voluntarily disclosed to the DOJ and that the DOJ thereafter closed its investigation, this prior post proposed – as this page has proposed since 2010 – the following: when a company voluntarily discloses an FCPA issue to the DOJ and/or SEC and when one or both of the enforcement agencies do not bring an enforcement action, have the enforcement agency publicly state, in a thorough and transparent manner, the facts the company disclosed and why the enforcement agency did not bring an enforcement action.
Fast forward to the present day.
Recently, Millicom disclosed:
“We are subject to a number of anti-corruption laws in the countries in which we operate and are located, in addition to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) in the United States and the Bribery Act in the United Kingdom. Our failure to comply with anti-corruption laws applicable to us could result in penalties, which could harm our reputation and harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows or prospects. The FCPA generally prohibits covered companies, their officers, directors and employees and their intermediaries from making improper payments to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or keeping business and/or other benefits. We operate in countries which pose elevated risks of corruption violations, and in certain of our markets, we have been and may continue to be subject to governmental investigations that include the telecommunications sector. If we are not in compliance with anti-corruption laws and other laws governing the conduct of business with government entities and/or officials (including local laws), we may be subject to criminal and civil penalties and other remedial measures. Moreover, investigations of any actual or alleged violations of such laws or policies related to us could be time-consuming, distracting to management and expensive, with the potential to harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows or prospects. For example, in late 2015 we reported to the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), as well as to law enforcement authorities in Sweden, potential improper payments made on behalf of our joint venture in Guatemala. In 2016 we received notification from the Swedish Public Prosecutor that its preliminary investigation had been discontinued. In 2018, DOJ informed us that it was closing its investigation without action. More recently, on April 27, 2022, we received a subpoena from DOJ requesting information concerning our business in Guatemala (“Tigo Guatemala”), including information related to the purchase in 2021 of our former joint venture partner’s interest in Tigo Guatemala and information related to any contacts with certain Guatemalan government officials. The subpoena also requested information concerning our operations in other countries in Latin America. We have notified DOJ that we intend to cooperate. At this time, we cannot predict the ultimate scope, timing or outcome of this matter.”