SAN DIEGO – Maxwell Technologies Inc. said it will pay $14.35 million to settle charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department that the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other securities laws.
The government had accused the San Diego company, which makes power storage devices, of bribing Chinese government officials to secure sales of its products to state-owned manufacturers of electric-utility infrastructure in several Chinese provinces.
In a statement, the Justice Department said Maxwell's Swiss subsidiary, Maxwell SA, paid more than $2.5 million to a Chinese agent between at least July 2002 and May 2009 to sell Maxwell's products in China — money that the company mischaracterized as sales-commission expenses. The Justice Department said the agent in turn used Maxwell SA's money to bribe officials at the state-owned entities to secure sales contracts.
Maxwell Technologies said it will pay $6.35 million in profit disgorgement and prejudgment interest to settle civil charges brought by the SEC, and $8 million in penalties to settle charges brought by the Justice Department.
As part of the settlement with the Justice Department, Maxwell Technologies entered into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement that requires the company to implement internal controls to detect and prevent violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the future, among other things. The Justice Department will dismiss all charges against the company without prejudice if it remains in compliance with the agreement for three years.
The company said it had fully accrued for the settlement payments as of Sept. 30, 2010.
Maxwell shares gained 25 cents to close at $18.
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