Premium Peanut CEO Paid Hefty Fine To SEC Late Last Year
Alleged To Have ‘Provided Improper Payments’
Enterprise Staff Writer
Premium Peanut Chief Executive Officer Karl Zimmer paid a significant fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) late last year after being accused of providing “improper payments” to “State-Owned Enterprise (SOE’s)” in Angola while serving as Senior Vice President of General Cable Corporation. Zimmer did not admit to or deny the allegations, instead choosing to pay a $20,000 fine last December.
According to a copy of the SEC order, General Cable Company, which is based on Kentucky, hired Zimmer in 2001 and later promoted him to Senior Vice President of General Cable’s Europe and Africa Supply Chain and Global Supply Chain in 2014.
The case summary in the order reads, “In November and December 2013, Zimmer, who was a Senior Vice President of General Cable Corporation, approved improper commission payments to a third-party agent on sales by GCC’s Angolan subsidiary to Angolan state-owned enterprises. At the time, Zimmer knew that GCC’s policies prohibited excessive commissions to third parties on sales to SOEs, GCC had commenced an investigation of potentially improper payments to the Agent, and GCC had prohibited the payment of past due commissions to the Agent while the investigation was pending and without further approval.
“Zimmer, however, approved multiple commissions to the Agent totaling $342,613, including commissions nearly double GCC’s prescribed limits on third-party commissions, and which were not documented by any services performed by the Agent. By approving these commissions, Zimmer caused GCC’s violations of the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, and knowingly circumvented a number of GCC’s internal accounting controls.”
The $342,000+ payments were “nearly double” General Cable’s prescribed limits on third-party commissions.
The order continues, “By at least October 2013, Zimmer knew that GCC’s Code of Ethics prohibited, among other things, excessive payments to an individual arranging contracts with government officials as it might suggest that some of the payment is being channeled to government officials, or is somehow being used for an improper purpose. Zimmer certified to GCC’s Legal Department that he had read and understood the Code of Ethics and he was and has been in compliance with the Code of Ethics since January 1, 2012.”
Along with Zimmer’s $20,000 fine, General Cable was hit with fines totaling $75.75 million to pay “resolve Foreign Corrupt Practice Act violations” that were committed in Bangladesh, Angola, China, Egypt, Indonesia, and Thailand.
Zimmer left General Cable in January of 2015 before going to work for Premium Peanut, where he serves as Chief Executive Officer.
According to the Premium Peanut website, “Premium Peanut currently has over 260 [farmer] shareholders located in 28 counties across South Georgia.”