Washington (CNN) -- British defense contractor BAE Systems has pleaded guilty in Washington to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and was ordered to pay a $400 million criminal fine, authorities announced.
A top Justice Department official said the fine is one of the largest criminal fines ever levied in the United States against a company for business-related violations.
BAE Systems admitted Monday to knowingly making false statements to U.S. investigators to hide its failure to ensure compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
"The actions of BAE Systems impeded U.S. efforts to ensure international trade is free of corruption and maintain control over sensitive U.S. technology," said Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler.
Federal prosecutors said the gain to BAE Systems from the false statements and failures to make required disclosures to the U.S. government was more than $200 million.
The scheme involved knowingly failing to identify commissions paid to third parties for help in illegally soliciting and promoting sales of defense items.
U.S. prosecutors stressed none of the criminal conduct involved actions by a Rockville, Maryland, subsidiary of the United Kingdom-based firm.