Panasonic investigated by US authorities over bribery claims

PANASONIC is reportedly under investigation by US authorities looking at whether the company paid bribes to industry employees and government officials to help land business.

The Japanese company’s private documents reveal that Panasonic Avionics, a California-based subsidiary, has been ordered to hand over certain records, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Although Panasonic did not make the allegations public, shares in the company fell by more than three per cent yesterday.

The company has reportedly been ordered to preserve information related to payments made to airline employees and government officials, as well as records of internal communications related to complaints or concerns about bribery and corruption.

It is unclear which US agency is investigating Panasonic Avionics, which is the world leader in in-flight entertainment and communications systems.

However, notices were reportedly sent to executives and employees in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

A Panasonic Avionics spokesman said the company does not comment on government investigations, while the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department did not comment.

The investigation, which Panasonic is understood to be co-operating with, comes at a gloomy time for the company, which posted a record loss last year.