According to documents leaked during its recent hacking, Sony Pictures Entertainment is under investigation for allegedly bribing a Chinese official to secure distribution of its 2010 film, Resident Evil: Afterlife, in China.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) subpoenaed Sony in 2013 for allegedly violating a US law that outlaws bribing a foreign government official.
For many years, Sony has allegedly used the Dynamic Marketing Group, a Beijing-based firm, to get around China’s quotas and strict censorship systems, which inevitably hinder film distribution in China. The SEC is now looking into the precise methods employed by DMG to secure distribution of the blockbuster that grossed $296 million worldwide, of which $21.6 million came from China.
Once the subpoena was issued, the SEC stated that an email sent by a Sony employee showed that DMG resorted to using “special influence” to ensure the blockbuster be shown in theatres across China.
The documents revealing the bribery probe were a result of a cyberattack on Sony in November 2014, which also leaked confidential data such as personal information about Sony employees, internal emails between Sony workers and executive salary information.
Source: Wall Street Journal