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IBM pays out over bribery charges

Computer giant IBM has agreed to pay $10m (£6m) in an out-of-court settlement of bribery allegations.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleged that IBM had paid large bribes to South Korean and Chinese government officials.

The bribes were channelled through local business partners and travel agents for more than a decade in order to win contracts, according to the SEC.

The SEC said the bribes made IBM some $5m additional profits.

The bribes included overseas trips, gifts such as cameras and laptop computers, and entertainment for Chinese officials.

More than 100 IBM employees had provided such bribes between 2004 and 2009, the SEC said.

During the 1998 to 2003 period, managers at a subsidiary and joint venture paid more than $200,000 in bribes to South Korean officials.

"Deficient internal controls" allowed staff to conceal bribes as "legitimate business expenses", the SEC said.

BBC News

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