SEC sues IBM over China, South Korea alleged bribes

Summary:The Securities and Exchange Commission sued IBM for allegedly bribing South Korean and Chinese government officials.

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday sued IBM for allegedly bribing South Korean and Chinese officials.

According to the SEC complaint, posted by the Wall Street Journal, IBM units allegedly bribed these government officials for more than a decade. Bribes included cash, gifts and travel.

IBM agreed to pay $10 million to settle the civil charges without admitting or denying guilt. The settlement is pending court approval.

Among the key details:

  • From 1998 to 2003, employees of IBM Korea and LG IBM PC, a joint venture where IBM owned a majority interest, paid government officials $207,000 in bribes.
  • From 2004 to early 2009, more than 100 employees in various IBM China units handed out improper gifts.
  • IBM lacked the internal processes to police these employees. The alleged bribes were recorded as regular expenses.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Hardware, IBM, Legal


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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