Friday, April 8, 2011

President Obama Visits Allison Transmission

President Obama will be in the Indianapolis area today visiting Allison Transmission. See here. [Update: given the budget talks in Washington, President Obama has postponed his visit to Allison Transmission].

Readers may recall that in November 2010, Allison Transmission was named as a defendant in a "noisy exit" case. See here for the prior post and here for the prior coverage in the Indianapolis Business Journal ("IBJ").

Stephen Lowe (Allison's former Managing Director for China, Japan & Korea Operations) alleged in a civil complaint that Allison fired him because he "refused to engage in violations of the FCPA." Lowe's complaint implicated both Allison's Vice President of International Sales and Marketing and Allison's Commercial Director of Asia Strategy.

As noted here by the IBJ, Lowe's lawsuit against Allison was quickly settled in January 2010.

I noted, for the IBJ article, that Allison could be dealing with FCPA exposure for years to come given that such employee allegations often result in a company launching an internal investigation and/or for the DOJ to become interested in the allegations and the company's overall FCPA compliance.

Fast forward to late March when Allison filed a registration statement with the SEC for an initial public offering. See here for the IBJ coverage.

Allison's registration statement (here) is silent as to FCPA issues aside from a generic template-like statement as to future risk factors.

This suggest a number of possibilities: (1) that Lowe's complaint lacked merit yet was settled for nuisance value; (2) that Lowe's complaint had merit, but the DOJ has not yet contacted the company or perhaps never will; or (3) that Lowe's complaint had merit, the DOJ has contacted the company, but Allison has chosen not to disclose this in its registration statement.

In any event, none of this is likely to come up during Obama's visit to Allison Transmission today, but Obama's visit did provide a good opportunity to check up on Allison Transmission.


A good weekend to all.

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