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United Technologies charged by SEC with making illicit payments to foreign officials

Steve Goldstein

United Technologies was charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by making illicit payments in its elevator and aircraft engine businesses, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday. United Technologies subsidiary Otis Elevator Co. made unlawful payments to Azerbaijani officials to facilitate the sales of elevator equipment for public housing in Baku and as part of a kickback scheme to sell elevators in China, the SEC said. The order also found that United Technologies, through its joint venture, made payments to a Chinese sales agent in a bid to obtain confidential information from a Chinese official that would help the company win engine sales to a Chinese state-owned airline. The SEC's order also found that United Technologies improperly provided trips and gifts to various foreign officials in China, Kuwait, South Korea, Pakistan, Thailand, and Indonesia through its Pratt & Whitney division and Otis subsidiary in order to obtain business. United Technologies didn't admit or deny the findings and paid $13.9 million to resolve the allegations. In a statement, United Technologies said it made a voluntary disclosure in 2013, terminated employees and enhanced internal controls and training programs.