South American-based LAN Airlines has agreed to pay more than $22 million to the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle parallel civil and criminal cases related to improper payments it authorized during a dispute between the airline and its union employees in Argentina. An SEC investigation found that when LAN encountered problems negotiating labour agreements with the unions, it was contacted by a consultant from Argentina who offered to negotiate on the company’s behalf. The consultant made clear that he would expect compensation for such negotiations, and that payments would be made to third parties who had influence

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