Panasonic Avionics Corporation, a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation, recently reached a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The agreement was announced in April 2018 and requires Panasonic to pay a monetary penalty of $137 million to settle charges of foreign bribery and conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
The case against Panasonic Avionics began in 2012 when the company`s internal auditors discovered a number of irregularities in the company`s books and records. These irregularities led investigators to believe that Panasonic had engaged in a number of illegal activities, including bribery of foreign officials to secure business contracts in several countries around the world.
Under the terms of the Deferred Prosecution Agreement, Panasonic Avionics admits to engaging in the illegal activity and agrees to pay the penalty. The agreement also requires the company to implement a series of compliance reforms to ensure that it does not engage in similar conduct in the future.
This case highlights the importance of compliance with anti-bribery laws, particularly for companies that operate in multiple countries. The FCPA prohibits companies from offering or providing anything of value to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. Failure to comply with the FCPA can result in significant penalties, including fines, disgorgement of profits, and even criminal prosecution.
Companies that operate globally need to develop and implement comprehensive compliance programs to ensure that they are not engaging in illegal activities. These programs should include policies and procedures for conducting due diligence on third-party agents and vendors, monitoring compliance with anti-bribery laws, and training employees on the importance of compliance.
In conclusion, the Deferred Prosecution Agreement between Panasonic Avionics and the DOJ is a clear reminder that companies that engage in illegal activities will be held accountable. Companies that operate globally must take compliance seriously and adopt robust compliance programs to prevent illegal activity. Compliance with anti-bribery laws is not just the right thing to do, it is also essential for the long-term success of any business.