The US corporation 3M has agreed to pay $9.6 million to settle its potential liability for a probe by the Treasury Department into sales to an Iranian entity controlled by the Islamic Republic’s police force.
Over a period of two years a 3M subsidiary based in Switzerland sold reflective license plate sheeting to Bonyad Taavon Naja, a sanctioned entity controlled by the Law Enforcement Forces, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said on September 21.
The sales occurred between September 2016 and September 2018, even after staff had pointed out potential issues, the statement said, adding that 3M came forward to disclose the conduct and cooperated throughout the investigation.
3M also fired several employees and cut off a Germany-based intermediary involved in the sales.
The settlement covers 54 alleged violations of sanctions placed on the Islamic Republic, OFAC said, adding that the transactions covered by the alleged violations were valued at around $10 million.
3M said that the company in 2019 determined several employees had committed these violations, and that it promptly disclosed the matter to the government and disclosed it in filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
After conducting a probe, it “took appropriate corrective actions, including personnel actions and policy changes for future compliance,” the company said.
Last month, 3M agreed to pay $6.5 million to settle an SEC probe after a China-based subsidiary allegedly violated Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying nearly $1 million to take Chinese healthcare officials on tourist excursions in a bid to “improperly induce the Officials to purchase” the company’s products.
Minnesota-headquartered 3M manufactures a wide range of products, including abrasives, adhesive tape and related products, as well as consumer-electronics components.