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Economy and Business

Diebold fined for foreign bribes
Green-based company alerted authorities to bribes by its subsidiary in Russia

Mark Urycki
Diebold subsidiares used trips and other gifts to try to boost its ATM sales in Russia.
Courtesy of Some rights reserved Skyfaller
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A struggling Northeast Ohio company has agreed to pay fines of $48 million for bribing business officials overseas. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Cleveland says Green-based Diebold had been offering bribes to bank officials in China, Russia and Indonesia in hopes of selling its ATM machines there.
LISTEN: U.S. attorney on the Diebold deal.

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U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach says Diebold actually alerted the government that its Russian distributor was using bribes to bankers to buy their ATM machines.  But the conduct turned out to be worldwide.

“It spanned offices in China, Indonesia and Russia, and involved payments of millions of dollars in cash, in gifts and trips ranging from trips to Paris and Amsterdam to Disney World to the Grand Canyon.”

Is that just business as usual in those countries?

“It’s certainly not business as usual for American corporations," says Dettelbach. "It’s been 40 years since the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was the law of this land. The law has been repeatedly affirmed and ratified and amended by Congress after Congress and president after president.

"American companies are not allowed to pay bribes abroad to get business. Period. End of story.”

The government and Diebold reached an agreement to dismiss criminal charges provided the company pays the fines and cooperates for the next three years. The company must retain a compliance monitor for the next 18 months.

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