On February 1, the SEC agreed to a $3.7 million settlement with a Germany-based software company regarding allegations that it violated the FCPA regarding the payment and offer of bribes to senior Panamanian government officials. The settlement, stemming from the actions of the company’s former executive Vincente Garcia who pleaded guilty last August to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, found that the company lacked appropriate internal controls to detect the illegal activity. According to the SEC, Garcia arranged the sale of heavily discounted software licenses and used the savings to create a “slush fund.” The money in this fund was then used to pay bribes and kickbacks.
The SEC order also found that the company lacked sufficient internal controls to prevent the violations. While the company did not admit or deny the findings, it consented to the cease-and-desist order and agreed to disgorge $3.7 million in profits plus prejudgment interest of $188,896.