(CN) – Credit Suisse Group AG reached a $77 million settlement Thursday of charges that it obtained investment banking business in the Asia-Pacific region by corruptly influencing foreign officials.
The Securities and Exchange Commission issued the order against Credit Suisse under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In addition to $33 million in disgorgement, Credit Suisse must pay a $47 million criminal penalty to the Justice Department. Federal prosecutors filed a nonprosecution agreement related to the case in Brooklyn, N.Y.
It its order, the SEC says that over a seven-year period, several senior Credit Suisse managers in the Asia-Pacific region sought to win business by hiring and promoting individuals connected to government officials as part of a quid pro quo arrangement.
While this practice bypassed the firm’s normal hiring process, employees in other Credit Suisse subsidiaries and affiliates were aware of it and in some instances approved these “relationship hires” or “referral hires,” the government said in a statement.
“Bribery can take many forms, including granting employment to friends and relatives of government officials. Credit Suisse’s practice of engaging in these hiring practices violated the law, and it is now being held to account for having done so,” Charles Cain, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit, said in a statement.
The SEC’s order finds that Credit Suisse violated the anti-bribery and internal accounting controls provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
In a statement, Credit Suisse said that “since 2013 … [it] has implemented numerous enhancements to its compliance and controls function and it remains committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity and fair business practices in every jurisdiction in which it operates.”