IBM Settles Bribery Charge With $10 Million

IBM has received a slap on the wrist from the U.S. regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission in the form of a $10 million fine.

The fine addresses the SEC's belief that IBM used bribes in its business dealings in South Korea and China.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, IBM employees in South Korea paid 16 government officials a total of $207,000 in cash bribes from 1998 to 2003 to secure the sale of mainframes and personal computers. The cash was supposedly stuffed into shopping bags and IBM envelopes and then handed over in secret meetings in parking lots.

IBM is also accused of providing personal vacations for Chinese government officials from 2004 to early 2009. IBM employees in China supposedly created a slush fund at travel agencies to pay for vacation and sightseeing packages.

The $10 million settlement with the SEC is composed of $5.3 million in disgorged profit, $2.7 million in interest and a penalty of $2 million.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • bigman8291
    Lol @ IBM
  • alyon
    Big surprise. Business ethics in Korea/China are almost non-existent.

    Funny fact: Almost all Korean owned nail salons and dry cleaners tax evade. I get to look at many of their private statements... lets just say with their claimed income paying rent would not be possible but the amount is always paid. Usually they do this by not claiming all business done in cash.
  • jkflipflop98
    I like how the punishment for bribery is a forced bribe.
  • shloader
    I've no doubt that they made more than that through the deal. Someone else just wanted a cut and going through the SEC keeps it on the up and up.
  • dEAne
    Yeah, because of money you can make a man walk barefoot into hell.
  • alidan
    dEAneYeah, because of money you can make a man walk barefoot into hell. ill walk barefoot into hell if you pay me enough
  • back_by_demand
    alidanill walk barefoot into hell if you pay me enoughI'll drive there you in my sin-wagon
  • neiroatopelcc
    Bribery is common place in those parts of the world really. I once knew a person working for twinnings' indian branch, and they've set up specific budgets for bribery (mostly to ensure their packages don't get lost in transit I'm sure)
  • NewJohnny
    Oh, the irony. Want to do something illegal? Incorporate.
  • TheDuke
    They probably made more money off the benefits of the dealings overall than this fine.