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SEC charges former CEO of Chilean-Based chemical and mining company with FCPA violations

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Staff Writer |
Patricio Contesse González
LatAm   Patricio Contesse González

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that the former CEO of Chilean-based chemical and mining company Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile, S.A. (SQM) has agreed to pay $125,000 to resolve charges that he violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

According to the SEC’s order, over the course of seven years, SQM’s then-CEO Patricio Contesse González caused SQM to make nearly $15 million in improper payments to Chilean political figures and others connected to them. Last year, SQM paid $30 million to settle parallel civil and criminal charges against the company.

The SEC’s order against Contesse finds that he directed and authorized these improper payments through a discretionary CEO account.

The payments were supported by fake documentation submitted to SQM by individuals and entities posing as legitimate vendors. Contesse caused the related false accounting entries in SQM’s books and records and also lied to SQM’s independent auditor and signed false certifications in SQM’s filings.

Contesse agreed to the settlement without admitting or denying the findings in the SEC’s order.

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