ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Companies

US charges 2 former Herbalife Chinese executives in bribery scheme

Fitness brand employees accused of bribing Beijing officials over a decade

An Herbalife logo is shown on a poster at a clinic in the Mission District in San Francisco, California.

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Two former executives of a Chinese unit of Herbalife Nutrition Ltd were criminally charged in the United States on Thursday over an alleged decade-long scheme to bribe Chinese government officials and circumvent the company's internal accounting controls, a person familiar with the matter said.

Yanliang Li, also known as Jerry Li, and Hongwei Yang, also known as Mary Yang, were each charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, an anti-bribery law. Li was also charged with perjury and destroying records.

Both defendants are 51-year-old Chinese citizens and remain at large. Li also faces related civil charges by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The person familiar with the matter said Herbalife employed the defendants during the alleged criminal activity.

Lawyers for the defendants could not immediately be identified. Herbalife did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company was not criminally charged.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan accused Li and Yang of approving "extensive and systematic payments of bribes" to Chinese government officials from roughly 2007 to 2017, to expand Herbalife's business and avoid regulatory scrutiny.

He also said Li lied under oath about the bribes when questioned by the SEC and destroyed evidence.

In afternoon trading, Herbalife shares were down 66 cents, or 1.5%, at $43.14.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends July 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media