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Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Bribed Chinese Government Officials to Obtain Outdoor Advertising Contracts

Clear Channel Stoneham Digital 995016338

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Washington DC, the Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. agreed to pay more than $26 million to resolve charges that it bribed Chinese government officials to obtain outdoor advertising contracts in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

The SEC’s order finds that Clear Channel, a U.S. based company in the out-of-home advertising industry, violated the FCPA in connection with the actions of its agent, Clear Media Limited, which, at the relevant time, was a Clear Channel majority-owned subsidiary in China. Specifically, the order finds that, from at least 2012 through 2017, Clear Media bribed Chinese government officials to obtain contracts required to sell advertising services to public and private sector clients for display on public bus shelters and other outdoor displays. In addition, the order finds that Clear Media used sham intermediaries and false invoices to generate cash for off-book “customer development” consultants engaged to win advertising business from government and private customers. According to the order, Clear Media’s improper payments were falsely characterized as legitimate entertainment, cleaning and maintenance, and “customer development” expenses in Clear Channel’s consolidated books and records. The order further finds that, from at least 2012 through 2019, Clear Channel failed to ensure that sufficient internal accounting controls were in place at Clear Media.

“As the SEC’s order finds, Clear Media bribed Chinese officials with expensive gifts and entertainment and used off-book consultants to obtain contracts from Chinese authorities,” said Charles Cain, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit. “Despite repeated red flags raised by its internal auditors, Clear Channel failed to address the deficient internal accounting controls that allowed Clear Media to continue these improper payments for many years.”

Clear Channel consented to the SEC’s order finding that it violated anti-bribery, recordkeeping, and internal accounting controls provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Without admitting or denying the findings, Clear Channel has agreed to cease and desist from committing or causing any future violations of these provisions, pay disgorgement plus prejudgment interest totaling approximately $20.1 million, and pay a $6 million civil penalty.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Christine Neal, M. Shahriar Masud, Sonali Singh, and Brittany Prelogar of the FCPA Unit.

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7 thoughts on “Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Bribed Chinese Government Officials to Obtain Outdoor Advertising Contracts

  1. Look at that ugly monstrosity. Ridgewood will hopefully vote down the giant LED 2 sided monstrosity that Gail Price and the Mayor want to put on Route 17. Benefits to both of them but not to Ridgewood residents.

    1. I doubt it will be voted down (or even opposed in a meaningful manner)
      since we are:

      RICH and STUPID

  2. Certainly there is no bribery in new jersey. Our politicians are only concerned about the best intetests of the people!

    1. I understand!

  3. Matt Rogers, without any investigation, said that Paul Vagianos, our Mayor did not do anything improper by lending $47K to Gail Price, even though you know they are both in cohoots over this billboard. The mayors owns not only a restaurant, but buildings with restaurants and other buinesses that could all drive business to the central business district downtown and his friend’s law firm is representing Outdoor Media. Once in, they will win the right to put others around Ridgewood. Big ugly structures, LED or not. So take your rich and stupid comment which you continually think is funny, and use our voice at the zoning board meeting

  4. Same corruption going on in Ridgewood. Paul and Gail Price. He bails her out and her firm benefits from “the deal”. She needs the bailout badly because apparently they are “allegedly” in arrears with taxes and perhaps other expenses, so the mayor needed to loan her $47 k as a bailout. How did Outfront Media pick Ridgewood. Did Paul approach them as a business owner standing to benefit or did Gail Price. Either way, there is something rotten here and it is the stench of corruption in our little village. you can kiss quaint little Ridgewood goodbye once this gets passed through.

  5. The Outfront Media Billboard is being pushed through by Gail Price who was the Zoning Board attorney in Ridgewood for 15 years and is a partner at the firm representing Outfront Media. She has experience (and the inside track, if you know what I mean). There is no way that the billboard coming to Paul and Gail is a coincidence-do not buy this load of crap and Matt saying there is no pecuniary money incentive is total nonsense. Something somewhere down the line, like extra business going to his business ventures and restaurant. He paid Gail Price $47k as a mortgage loan with 10% interest, allegedly but not because it is documented and notarized.

    Her bio on the website is as follows:

    Gail L. Price concentrates in the areas of zoning and planning, representing commercial, industrial and residential developers in connection with land development and construction related issues. She represents national supermarket and hotel chains, developers of assisted living and congregate care facilities, houses of worship, pharmacies, restaurants and other retail chains in securing government approval for the development of corporate owned and leased properties. She is experienced with all federal and state land use and environmental regulations and has represented national corporations in complex litigation on zoning issues of first impression. She has extensive experience working with professional consulting teams on a wide range of Redevelopment projects, as well as serving as lead counsel in prerogative writ litigation throughout the state.

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