Embraer will pay $205 million to settle SEC bribery probe

WASHINGTON – Brazilian airplane manufacturer Embraer SA will pay up to $205 million to end an investigation into bribes paid to foreign officials to help sell planes.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday that Embraer created false records to hide some of the payments as sales commissions. Senior company executives approved the payments despite signs that the money would likely go to foreign officials, the SEC said.

The SEC complaint said that Embraer made more than $83 million in profit from the sales linked to bribes to officials in India, Saudi Arabia, Mozambique and the Dominican Republic.

Embraer said in a statement that it admitted responsibility and had agreed to settle investigations by the SEC, the Justice Department and authorities in Brazil.

The company said it was questioned in 2010 by U.S. authorities about certain foreign sales and began its own investigation, which was led by outside law firms.

Embraer said it recently finished the investigation and found that it was responsible for “misdeeds” in transactions for 16 aircraft between 2007 and 2011. The company said it regretted the conduct.

The SEC said Embraer will pay a $107 million penalty and give up more than $98 million in ill-gotten gains and interest. The company may get credit for up to $20 million depending on how much it pays to Brazilian authorities in a related case there, the SEC said.

The SEC complaint was filed in federal district court in Florida and accused Embraer of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.