James Tillen Comments on IBM FCPA Case in Law360

"IBM To Pay $10M To End SEC's Asian Bribery Suit"
03.18.11James Tillen discusses IBM's agreement to pay $10 million to settle allegations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that its affiliates made improper payments to government officials in South Korea and China, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The case sends a message to companies that it pays to remain vigilant even when doing business in a developed country like South Korea, where a culture of corruption can still exist, said Tillen. IBM's Chinese activity allegedly involved paying for lavish travel for government officials, a problem that has popped in previous cases, Tillen said. He noted that companies should also be leery of local travel agents, which helped IBM's China employees plan trips for government officials in this case, according to the SEC. An IBM joint venture was also implicated in the case, indicating companies could still be held liable for the activity of joint ventures, Tillen said.
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