Fed probes allegations that Avon bribed officials: report

Reuters

(Reuters) - Federal prosecutors are investigating allegations that former employees of Avon Products Inc <AVP.N> bribed foreign officials, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Prosecutors in the southern district of New York's complex frauds unit in Manhattan and the Justice Department's fraud section in Washington are seeking more information on whether Avon employees had possibly violated the foreign corrupt practices act, the Journal reported.

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The door-to-door beauty company has been conducting a three-year internal probe into bribery allegations that began in China and then extended to Latin America.

The company's internal bribery investigation recently found that millions of dollars of questionable payments had been made to officials in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, India and Japan, the paper earlier reported.

No charges have been filed against any individuals or the company and Avon is continuing with its own internal investigation, the paper added.

The household products maker has already come under fire for spending as much as $96 million in 2010 on its bribery investigation and after it announced its plans to spend a similar amount this year.

Avon, DoJ and the SEC were not available for comment outside of normal U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Rachel Chitra in Bangalore; Editing by David Cowell)

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