India: Carlsberg bribed allegedly government officials

Top executives at Danish brewery Carlsberg’s Indian subsidiary have done “systematic cash payments (…) to select public officials,” according to an investigation by Danish newspaper Berlingske. The monthly payments were reportedly made to ensure swifter regulatory processing time and to get manufacturing terms for an Indian Carlsberg brewery that were more suited to the company. Allegedly the newspaper has evidence of over 200 payments made as a bribe in violation of the Danish Criminal Code to Indian officials over a period of 18 months between 2015 and 2016.

Carlsberg Group’s Head of Information, Kasper Elbjørn, confirmed that the company was already informed in 2017 about the case when an employee disgruntled over a ‘wrongful firing’ asked the company to pay USD 2million for not disclosing the facts to the press. However, internal investigations could not prove the bribery allegations.

Carlsberg now asked Berlingske for additional material in their possession for a comprehensive audit “of all relevant processes regarding applications for permits, licenses and the like in India.”

Carlsberg is the third largest brewing company in India and runs eight breweries in the second-most populous country in the world.

Just a few days ago it became known  that also the number 2 in the Indian beer market, AB InBev could face criminal charges after Delhi city government asked the police to take a closer look at an tax evasion case which prompted a three-year ban on sales of AB InBev products in the Delhi market (, 13.9.2019).

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