Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes SA (GOLL4.SA), a Brazilian airline, will pay more than $41 million to settle concurrent bribery investigations by criminal and civil authorities in the United States and Brazil, according to U.S. officials on Thursday, September 15, 2022.
The Justice Department announced a three-year deferred prosecution deal with Gol concerning criminal information filed in Maryland accusing the firm of conspiracy to violate anti-bribery statutes.
In a statement, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that Gol had agreed to pay $70 million to resolve allegations against it. The SEC and the Justice Department exempted payment of all but $24.5 million and $17 million owing to Gol’s “inability to pay the sanctions in full,” it added.
According to the SEC, Gol will pay extra fines to Brazilian authorities totalling about $3.4 million. The SEC stated that the airline and the Justice Department agreed to pay over $87 million to settle criminal charges.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite, of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said Gol had “paid millions of dollars in bribes to foreign officials in Brazil in exchange for the passage of legislation that was beneficial to the airline.”
Polite said that Gol “engaged in bogus contracts with third-party vendors to generate and conceal the funds required to execute this criminal conduct, and then falsely documented the sham payments in its books.”
The SEC reviewed Gol’s cooperation and remedial actions, which included disciplining the Gol director who coordinated the scheme and enhancing internal accounting controls and anti-corruption policies and procedures in deciding whether to accept the offer.
Ernesto Palacios, Shahriar Masud, and Thierry Olivier Desmet of the SEC’s FCPA Unit led the investigation. The SEC acknowledges the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, the FBI, the Brazil Controladoria-General da Unio, the Advocacia-General da Unio, and the Ministério Publico Federal for cooperation.
Brazil Airline Gol Offers Bribes To Foreign Officials In Brazil
According to court records cited by the Justice Department, the company planned to provide and pay nearly $3.8 million in bribes to foreign officials in Brazil between 2012 and 2013. Representatives of Gol were unable to be reached immediately for comment. The company reported a significant second-quarter financial loss in late July, primarily due to fluctuations in foreign currency.
It also offered updated forecasts for 2022 to account for ongoing increases in the cost of jet fuel and its ripple effects on airfares. These projections showed a decline in critical measures, including load factor and EBITDA margin, but a rise in revenue.
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