ATM company to pay $48 million over bribery charges

ADVERTISEMENT
According to the charges, Diebold bribed officials in China and Indonesia with gifts, entertainment, travel and money totaling $1.75 million from 2005-2010. The company tried to disguise the payments by routing them through third parties and claiming that some trips were for training.

Among those trips was a two-week vacation for eight officials at a Chinese government-owned bank to stops including Paris, Rome, Munich and Venice.

“A bribe is a bribe, whether it’s a stack of cash or an all-expense-paid trip to Europe,” Scott Friestad, an associate director in the SEC’s enforcement division, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Public companies must be held accountable when they break the law to influence government officials with improper payments or gifts.”

Additionally, from 2005-2009 Diebold created false contracts with a Russian distributor to hide bribes that it routed to bank employees to get them to sign contracts for ATMs, the agencies claim.

“In China, Indonesia and Russia, Diebold chose to pay bribes for business and falsify documents to cover its tracks,” added a statement from acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman. “Through its corrupt business practices, Diebold undermined the sense of fair play that is critical for the rule of law to prevail.”

In addition to the financial fine, the company has also agreed to be overseen by a compliance monitor for 18 months to make sure it beefs up its internal controls.

In a statement to The Hill, Diebold spokesman Mike Jacobsen said that it is "imperative" for the company to "recognize these issues head on, acknowledge responsibility" and put the investigation behind it.

“Today’s settlement agreement is an important step for the company moving forward," he said.

-- This story was updated with Diebold's statement on Oct. 23 at 12:27 p.m.