WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced April 30 that Panasonic Corp. will pay more than $143 million after allegations of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by engaging in bribery.

“Investors rightfully expect the companies they invest in will not engage in bribery or fraud,” Antonia Chion, associate director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in a statement. “Issuers must implement effective controls for the selection and engagement of consultants and agents to ensure compliance with anti-bribery statutes.”  

According to the SEC, Panasonic attempted to induce a government official at a state-owned airline to help its Panasonic Avionics Corp. (PAC) obtain and retain business from the airline. The SEC alleges PAC, which provides in-flight entertainment and communication systems, offered the government official a lucrative consulting contract as a bribe. 

“Issuers need to ensure that their rules and controls address the specific bribery and corruption risks they face when operating in global markets with customers that are state-owned entities,” Charles Cain, chief of the Enforcement Division’s FCPA unit, said in a statement. “It is not enough for a company merely to set up policies and procedures that are not enforced or are easily circumvented by employees.”

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