IBM To Pay $10 Million To Settle Bribery Charges: Report

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IBM has agreed to pay $10 million to settle civil charges that the company engaged in widespread payment of bribes in several Asian countries between 1998 and 2009, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Regulators with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused IBM of the bribery, which included handing over shopping bags stuffed with cash in South Korea and arranging junkets for government officials in China in exchange for computer equipment contracts valued at millions of dollars, the story said.

The SEC charged that more than 100 employees of IBM subsidiaries and joint ventures carried out the bribery payments.

IBM has neither admitted, nor denied the charges, according to The Wall Street Journal story, but has taken appropriate remedial action to address the issues raised by the SEC.

IBM has targeted some two-dozen "growth market" countries, including China, Brazil and India, where IBM sales outpace the rest of the world by at least 10 percent. Those countries already account for between 15 and 20 percent of IBM sales and will reach 25 percent in the near future, CEO Sam Palmisano told channel partners at the company's PartnerWorld Leadership Conference last month.

The SEC complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., charged that the bribes included hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, laptop computers, cameras, travel and entertainment expenses, according to the story.

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