New York (AFP)

The German car maker BMW was fined Thursday by the US stock market policeman, the SEC, to the tune of $ 18 million, for having artificially inflated its sales in order to seduce investors.

The North American subsidiary of the group is accused of having provided false and misleading information at the time of bond issues totaling $ 18 billion, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) detailed in a press release. .

From 2015 to 2019, BMW falsified its sales figures by using a reserve of cars it did not report except when it needed them to meet its goals.

The German group also reported fictitious vehicle sales and adjusted its sales made in 2015 and 2017.

"Companies that use the US markets for capital increases have an obligation to provide investors with reliable information," SEC official Stephanie Avakian said in the statement.

"Through the repeated dissemination of fraudulent information, BMW has misled investors about its retail sales in the United States and customer demand for BMW vehicles in the United States market while raising capital in the United States ", she lambasted.

BMW said it was "happy" to resolve the dispute and noted in a statement to AFP that the SEC congratulated it on its cooperation in the investigation.

"A large part of the facts pointed out (...) happened more than three years ago," said the German group.

"There is no allegation or finding of intentional misconduct by BMW."

© 2020 AFP