US securities regulators charged German insurer Allianz SE on Monday with bribing Indonesian government officials, and fined the company $12.3 million for violating overseas corruption laws.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said its investigation uncovered evidence that Allianz's Indonesia subsidiary had made more than $650,000 in payments to officials to win some 295 insurance contracts on government projects.
Allianz "made more than $5.3 million in profits as a result of the improper payments," the SEC said.
The payments, made in 2001-2008, broke the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which can be applied to companies with US units or whose securities are traded on US exchanges.
Allianz, which has its headquarters in Munich, Germany, agreed to pay $12.3 million to settle the charges, the SEC said.
"Allianz's subsidiary created an 'off-the-books' account that served as a slush fund for bribe payments to foreign officials to win insurance contracts worth several million dollars," Kara Brockmeyer, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division's FCPA unit, said in a statement.
The US has stepped up its use of the FCPA to police corrupt behavior by US companies and companies with US units in overseas markets, with the aim of helping companies that do not pay bribes compete.