The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday notified some ten corporations that information from their files at the commission regarding questionable or illegal payments here and abroad will be made public.
The commission agreed on Wednesday to reveal the information in response to Freedom of Information Act requests by the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.
The ten companies are the first to be notified of about 350 that have revealed making payments, either voluntarily or after being sued by the SEC.
Records of the payments and the recipients will be made public, the SEC said, "where there is no longer any law enforcement interest in the records."
The ten companies are being given until May 17 to review their files, at which time they will be released by the SEC.
A random telephone inquiry of a number of companies whose cases have been settled with the SEC revealed that most were unaware of the SEC decision.
American Ship Building Co., which was sued by the SEC for disguising political campaign contributions on its books, acknowledged it was notified that its records were opened.
Michael Grdina, general counsel of the Cleveland company, said: "We believe everything of consequence is already out, but we are reviewing the records."
Braniff Airways, Inc., and American Airlines were also reportedly among the ten notified yesterday, but this could not be confirmed.
A high SEC official said that giving the companies twenty days to review their books "is a test procedure."