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Avon Will Pay $135 Million to Settle Bribe Investigation

Avon Products Inc., the world’s largest door-to-door seller of cosmetics, agreed to pay $135 million to end a five-year U.S. bribery probe that has cast a pall over the company as it grapples with a slump in sales and management changes.

Avon will enter into a deferred-prosecution agreement with the Justice Department and a subsidiary in China will plead guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the company said today in a regulatory filing. The accord, which hasn’t been finalized, would also settle a Securities and Exchange Commission civil probe.