A record amount has been paid out to a whistleblower by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a bribery case against Swedish vendor Ericsson.

The whistleblower was paid $279 million earlier this month, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Ericsson's Headquarters in New Jersey, US
– Ericsson

This payment relates directly to the $1.1 billion settlement that Ericsson struck with the US authorities in 2019, said the WSJ, which cited people familiar with the matter.

Ericsson agreed to the hefty settlement amid allegations that it conspired to make illegal payments to win business in five countries, including China, Vietnam, and Djibouti.

A whistleblower can receive an award of between 10 to 30 percent of the fines collected in SEC civil-enforcement actions, under the current SEC rules, although only if payouts exceed $1m.

The $279m award smashed the previous record award of $114m in October, although the name of that company has never been disclosed.

Ericsson's settlement in 2018 included a $520m criminal penalty, and $540m penalty relating to illicit profits, and required Ericsson to retain a compliance monitor for three years and to cooperate in related probes.

In March of this year, Ericsson was made to pay an additional $206 million fine to the SEC after it pled guilty to violating anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

WSJ's revelation of the record payout follows Ericsson's victory against a lawsuit headed by its US shareholders, that had claimed it mislead investors about its compliance with anti-bribery laws.

A district court in New York rejected the plaintiff's claims after the lawsuit was brought forward by a Boston-based pension fund in 2022.