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News digest 1/2/17: Fiat face fines

29 January 2017 by Henry Ker

Fiat face fines - read more

The latest governance stories in the news

Fiat could face up to $4.5 billion in penalties

America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accused Fiat of fitting 104,000 of its cars with software to cheat pollution tests.

The company could face a cost of up to $45,000 for each vehicle, meaning the total could rise to as much as $4.5 billion, as the EPA warned that Fiat ‘may be liable for civil penalties and injunctive relief for the violations’.

The allegation came the day after VW agreed to plead guilty over its use of defeat devices and pay $4.3 billion to settle.

Fiat has said it is ‘disappointed’ with the EPA and it ‘intends to work with the incoming administration to present its case and resolve this matter fairly and equitably and to assure the EPA and Fiat US customers that the company’s diesel-powered vehicles meet all applicable regulatory requirements’.

 

Half of FTSE 100 could clear pension deficit by withholding dividends

46 FTSE 100 companies could have cleared their pension deficits if they had used the previous year’s dividends, according to new analysis by JLT Employee Benefits, a pension and employee benefit consultancy.

The total disclosed deficit of the FTSE 100 companies’ pension schemes was £25 billion, with a total of £68.5 billion in dividends paid by companies with a defined benefit pension scheme in the FTSE 100. In total, the amount contributed by FTSE 100 companies’ to their pension schemes was £13.2 billion, down from £13.4 billion in the previous accounting year.

The figures are likely to reopen the pension deficit debate, although the issue is not as simple as many argue. ICSA Policy Advisor, Chris Hodge, recently wrote a blog exploring the complexities of the debate which is available on the ICSA website.

 

Rolls-Royce settles bribery and corruption claims

Rolls-Royce has struck a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the Serious Fraud Office, which includes payments of £510 million, to settle an investigation into bribery and corruption allegations. It also reached agreements with US and Brazilian authorities, which brings the total value to around £671 million.

The Serious Fraud Office has been investigating offences by the FTSE 100 company over the past 20 years, which includes paying millions in bribes in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Russia.

David Green, Director of the SFO, commented on the case, ‘Bribery harms the reputation of the UK as a safe place to do business. I welcome this DPA, a significant enforcement action by the SFO, using relatively new statutory powers in respect of an important British company...’

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