US gun maker Smith & Wesson fined US$2m for bribery overseas
US gun maker Smith & Wesson has agreed to pay US$2 million in fines for bribing officials in Indonesia, Pakistan and other countries to gain sales deals.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission accused the company, whose hand guns are popular in law enforcement and military services, of facilitating bribes of US$11,000 worth of cash and free guns to Pakistan police officials in 2008 to obtain a supply contract.
One year later, the SEC said, Smith & Wesson employees made or authorised bribes in Indonesia to win a contract with a local police department, though the deal ultimately fell through.
Other attempts to pay off officials via third-party agents were made in Turkey, Nepal and Bangladesh, the SEC said.
The SEC found that the company's actions, successful or not in gaining business, violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which aims to eliminate bribery and graft as a crucial factor in business competition globally.
Smith & Wesson did not admit or deny the findings by the SEC, but agreed on Monday to pay US$2 million in penalties to settle the charges.
The SEC said the company had taken action to halt pending sales when it learned of the bribery by its staff, and fired its entire international sales staff to begin addressing the problem.
"This is a wake-up call for small and medium-sized businesses that want to enter into high-risk markets and expand their international sales," said Kara Brockmeyer of the SEC's enforcement division.
"When a company makes the strategic decision to sell its products overseas, it must ensure that the right internal controls are in place and operating," she said.