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Avon unit pleads guilty to bribing Chinese officials

Avon Products Inc.'s Chinese subsidiary bribed local officials with Gucci bags and foreign travel to sell products directly to the nation's consumers, the U.S. said as the company ended a six-year federal investigation with a guilty plea and $135 million in fines. Avon is also subject to a deferred prosecution agreement requiring it to adopt "rigorous" internal controls and avoid further violations for three years before the case will be dropped. The plea, which includes an outside monitor, was announced at a hearing Wednesday in Manhattan federal court. The world's largest door-to-door seller of cosmetics had said in May it would settle the probe. Its Chinese unit...

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