Corporate Fraud: Carlsberg Bribed Indian Officials
According to an investigation by Danish newspaper Berlingske, Carlsberg has bribed Indian officials to ensure swifter regulatory processing time and to get better manufacturing terms for their Indian brewery.
Berlingske reports the material they uncovered contains proof of over 200 payments made to officials over a period of 18 months between 2015 and 2016. The payments have gone to officials responsible for “excise, regulatory oversight and the issuance of permits to breweries”.
Carlsberg has responded stating the material that Berlingske has includes material they received in 2017 through a ‘Speak Up’ case, which was presented by an employee disgruntled over a ‘wrongful firing’.
But the Scroll reports, the material from Berlingske includes far more information than from the 2017 case. A number of payments were apparently cleared by an Indian citizen, who was a board member of the company’s Indian subsidiary back then. The material, which has been vetted by experts, indicates that the payments were made as a bribe in violation of the Danish Criminal Code. The payments were reportedly made every month.
Berlingske also has confirmation from three important anonymous sources, who have said that the Carlsberg’s Indian subsidiary made the secret payments to Indian government officials.
Though initially stating that the bribery could not be proved, Carlsberg has launched an extensive audit after Berlingske approached them.
Suspicions of a beer cartel
In October 2018, Carlsberg offices were among those raided by India’s anti-trust monitoring agency, the Competition Commission of India (CCI). CCI also raided the offices of United Breweries and Anheuser-Busch InBev, on suspicion of a beer cartel that was fixing prices in India. The three companies together take up 90% of market share in the Indian beer market.