March 8 (Reuters) - The U.S. securities regulator is looking into a bribery charge leveled against the Brazilian unit of Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the plans.
Brookfield Brasil Shopping Centers, a property management company, allegedly paid 1.3 million reais ($663,000) to a city representative and chief inspector who approved construction at the Shopping Patio Paulista, according to civil charges filed by state prosecutor Marcelo Camargo Milani in February.
A member of the SEC’s enforcement division is scheduled this month to interview Daniela Gonzalez, a former executive in the Sao Paulo unit of Brookfield who made the allegations, the Journal said.
A Brookfield spokesman told the Journal that the company has conducted its own internal review and “vigorously denies any wrongdoing.”
The spokesman also told the paper the company was cooperating fully with all authorities and has no knowledge “that an SEC investigation is proceeding.”
An SEC spokesman declined to comment to the Journal.
Both Brookfield and SEC could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular business hours.
The SEC’s scrutiny is related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a 1970s-era law, which bars companies and others from paying bribes to officials of foreign governments in exchange for business.
Foreign companies are subject to the law if they sell shares in the United States, according to the paper. Brookfield shares trade both in Toronto and New York.