SEC sues IBM over China, South Korea alleged bribes

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.

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