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Anheuser-Busch Discloses India Foreign Corruption Probe by SEC

March 25 (Bloomberg) -- Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s India joint venture is being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“We have been informed by the SEC that it is conducting an investigation into our affiliates in India, including our non-consolidated Indian joint venture, InBev Indian Int’l Private Ltd., and whether certain relationships of agents and employees were compliant with the FCPA,” the company said today in a regulatory filing. “We are investigating the conduct in question and cooperating with the SEC.”

John Nester, an SEC spokesman, declined to comment.

The investigation is at an early stage and no claims have been asserted by regulators, Marianne Amssoms, an AB InBev spokeswoman, said today in an e-mail. AB InBev’s market share in India is about 2 percent, she said. Operations are run by an Indian subsidiary, Crown Beers India, and a joint venture with RKJ Group for local production, in which AB InBev holds a minority stake.

“We have an extensive compliance program which includes robust policies, training, and an employee hotline,” Amssoms also wrote. “We do not tolerate any violations and are fully cooperating with this investigation.”

Beam Inc., the distiller of Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Canadian Club liquors, said in October that it was investigating its operations in India after a report of possible FCPA violations.

AB InBev rose 0.6 percent to 75.43 euros today in Brussels trading. The shares have climbed 15 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Duane D. Stanford in Atlanta at dstanford2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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