Qualcomm’s $7.5 Million Settlement for Princeling Hirings Enabled by Three Key Compliance Failures

Qualcomm Inc., a major designer of wireless telecommunications products, has agreed to pay a civil monetary penalty of $7.5 million to the SEC to settle FCPA charges. According to the SEC, Qualcomm hired the relatives of Chinese government officials and also provided extensive gifts, travel and entertainment to the foreign officials and their families to influence those officials’ purchasing decisions. The case shows that hiring family members of foreign officials “clearly needs to be on companies’ risk assessment radar,” asserted Jeffrey Kaplan, a partner at Kaplan & Walker. The case is also a reminder that companies still need to be mindful of more traditional corruption risks such as gifts, travel and entertainment and a weak compliance program. See “Hiring Practices and FCPA Compliance in the Wake of the BNY Settlement (Part One of Two)” (Jan. 13, 2016); Part Two (Jan. 27, 2016).

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