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Diebold Settles Foreign Bribery Cases for $48.1 Million

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Diebold Inc., a maker of ATMs and bank security systems, agreed to pay more than $48 million to settle allegations by the U.S. that it bribed officials in Russia, China and Indonesia.

The company will give up $22.9 million in illegal profits in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and pay a criminal fine of $25.2 million to resolve Justice Department charges that the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, according to papers filed today in federal court in Washington and Akron, Ohio.

Some of Diebold’s bribes were made in the form of gifts, money and leisure travel to Paris, Bali, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and other destinations for Chinese government bank employees in order to win and retain business, according to court filings.

“Through its corrupt business practices, Diebold undermined the sense of fair play that is critical for the rule of law to prevail,” Mythili Raman, acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said in a statement.

Trips were disguised in records as “training,” the SEC said in its filing.

When an employee of North Canton, Ohio-based Diebold sought his supervisor’s permission to pay for a European trip for bank officials in Indonesia, his boss approved and responded, “Make this trip successful for upcoming bid, too!,” according to the SEC complaint.

‘Acknowledge Responsibility’

“It’s imperative for Diebold to recognize these issues head on, acknowledge responsibility, put the FCPA investigation period behind it,” Mike Jacobsen, a company spokesman said in an e-mailed statement. “Given the experience the company has gained and its continued focus on global ethics and compliance, Diebold is confident in its ability to manage ethics-related issues as they arise.”

The settlements, which include a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department and a commitment to the SEC to appoint an independent compliance monitor, are subject to approval by judges.

The SEC case is SEC v. Diebold Inc., 13-cv-1609, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington). The Justice Department case is U.S. v. Diebold, 13-cr-464, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio (Akron).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Zajac in Washington at azajac@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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