Cognizant will pay $25 million to the US Security and Exchange Commission to settle bribery charges, after the Department of Justice filed criminal cases against two if its former top executives.
The two former executives have been charged for their roles in facilitating the payment of millions of dollars in bribe to an Indian government official, the Security and Exchange Commission said.
Cognizant has agreed to pay $25 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the SEC added.
As alleged in the complaint, Cognizant’s president Gordon Coburn and chief legal officer, Steven E Schwartz authorised the contractor to pay the bribe and directed their subordinates to conceal the bribe by doctoring the contractor’s change orders.
The SEC also alleges that Cognizant authorised the construction firm to make two additional bribes totaling more than $1.6 million. Cognizant allegedly used sham change order requests to conceal the payments it made to reimburse the firm, SEC said.
The SEC charged Coburn and Schwartz with violating anti-bribery, books and records, and internal accounting controls provisions of the federal securities laws. The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions, monetary penalties, and officer-and-director bars against Coburn and Schwartz.
In a separate statement, the Department of Justice said Gordon Coburn, 55, and Steven Schwartz, 51, have been charged in a 12-count indictment with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, three counts of violating the FCPA, seven counts of falsifying books and records, and one count of circumventing and failing to implement internal accounting controls.
The allegations in the indictment filed recently describe a sophisticated international bribery scheme authorised and concealed by C-suite executives of a publicly-traded multinational company, said Assistant Attorney General, Brian Benczkowski.
According to the indictment, in April 2014, Coburn and Schwartz allegedly authorised an unlawful payment of approximately $2 million to one or more foreign government officials in India to secure and obtain necessary permits to open a new office campus. – News Today