Panasonic Avionics has agreed to pay some $280 million in an agreement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) in order to settle criminal and civil allegations over falsified bribery payments to Chinese and other Asian agents. The DoJ and Panasonic had agreed a Deferred Prosecution Agreement over the bribery allegations.
Panasonic Avionics is a major supplier of in-flight entertainment and WiFi to airlines.
The DoJ had held off formally prosecuting Panasonic pending the out of court settlement, although Panasonic Avionics is obliged to admit guilt or else the case could be resurrected.
Panasonic pays a penalty of more than $137 million in respect of the criminal allegati0ons, and another $143 million in respect of the civil claims, and interest. The civil aspects of the case were handled by the US Securities & Exchange Commission.
The DoJ said the claims occurred from 2007-2013, and one element in July 2007 saw a “foreign official” was paid $875,000 over a 6-year period despite the recipient doing little work for the fee.
Panasonic made leadership changes at the subsidiary last year.
Reports suggest that now that the legal problems have been settled the company might be ripe for a merger with one of its rivals. One report suggests that Panasonic and Global Eagle might be up for a merger.