01 May 2018
AP — Panasonic Corp. will pay about $280 million to resolve federal charges that executives at its in-flight entertainment unit improperly hid payments to consultants overseas in violation of anti-corruption rules, officials announced Monday.
The Japanese electronics giant’s parent company will pay $143 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission, while its Southern California subsidiary, Panasonic Avionics, will pay $137 million in penalties to the U.S. Justice Department, federal prosecutors said.
The investigation concerned payments to consultants in Asia and the Middle East, at least one of which did little or no work, authorities said.
Panasonic Avionics was accused of concealing payments to third-party sales agents between 2007 and 2016, in violation of the accounting provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Those payments were improperly recorded in Panasonic’s regulatory filings, officials said.
“When Panasonic Avionics Corporation caused its publicly-traded parent company to falsify its books and records, it distorted the information available to legitimate investors,” said acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan.
UPDATE: Panasonic comment – According to Reuters, Hideo Nakano, CEO of Panasonic Avionics, said in a statement: “We have taken extensive steps over the past few years to strengthen Panasonic Avionics’ compliance programs and internal controls, and we welcome an independent compliance monitor to assess our progress.”
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