Avon Says U.S. Rejects $12 Million Offer to Settle Probes

Avon Products Inc., the world’s largest door-to-door cosmetics seller, said the U.S. rejected the company’s offer to pay $12 million to resolve investigations into whether executives bribed foreign officials.

The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission rejected an offer made in June, including the payment of monetary penalties, the company said today in its quarterly filing with the SEC. Avon said it expects a counteroffer.

“There can be no assurance that a settlement with the SEC and the DOJ will be reached or, if a settlement is reached, the timing of any such settlement or the terms of any such settlement,” New York-based Avon said. Recent discussions suggest the amount will be higher than $12 million, it said.

Avon and the government have been investigating whether ex-employees in China and other countries bribed officials in violation of U.S. law.

In regulatory filings in 2011, Avon disclosed the firing of four executives suspected of paying bribes in China. The company is conducting an internal investigation along with the government.

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