Business Digest: Justice Department broadens probe of IBM

May 3, 2013
CORPORATE
Justice Department
broadens IBM probe

The Justice Department is investigating IBM over corruption allegations in Poland, Argentina, Bangladesh and Ukraine, adding to bribery charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The agency is looking into whether IBM violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the company said in an April 30 filing. In Poland, the department is focusing on a transaction that the Polish Central Anti-Corruption Bureau already was studying, the company said. It involves allegations of a former IBM employee selling to the Polish government. Justice spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment on the investigation.

The Justice Department investigation adds scrutiny in new territory as IBM tries to settle with the SEC over activity in China and South Korea. The global reach of the investigation indicates that this is not an isolated matter, said Charles Elson, corporate-governance professor at the University of Delaware.

“If it happens in one country, you can say it’s an individual,” Elson said. “If it happens in multiple, you have to ask, is it systemic? And how well was the compliance program put in place to prevent it?”

— Bloomberg News

Amtrak ridership increases
BANKS
U.S. charges Algerian
in account hacking

An Algerian man accused of helping to develop and market a computer program that drained millions of dollars from bank accounts around the world pleaded not guilty Friday to nearly two dozen charges.

A 23-count indictment charged Hamza Bendelladj, 24, with wire fraud, bank fraud, computer fraud and conspiracy. U.S. Attorney Sally Yates said the suspect was extradited to Atlanta from Thailand on Thursday and was arraigned in federal court Friday afternoon. A second person also is charged in the indictment but has not been identified. Investigators could not disclose whether the person was in the United States or abroad. Officials also would not disclose what information led them to Bendelladj.

Bendelladj, whose nickname is “Bx1,” is accused of developing and marketing SpyEye, a banking Trojan. However, federal authorities have not said how Bendelladj helped develop the software. Court records don’t indicate whether he has a lawyer.

— Associated Press

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l  An OfficeMax shareholder sued to block a proposed $1.17 billion takeover by Office Depot, calling the deal “grossly inadequate.” The acquisition, announced Feb. 20 by the companies, would combine the second- and third-biggest U.S. office-supply businesses behind market-leader Staples.

l  Google Fiber said Thursday that Shawnee, Kan., located just outside Kansas City, has voted to bring Google Fiber to its residents, making it the second location to get the high-speed Internet service. Google Fiber is already available in Kansas City.

l  Barnes & Noble’s latest effort to revive its Nook tablet business involves another technology giant. This time it’s Google, owner of the world’s most popular search engine. The largest U.S. bookstore chain has signed a partnership with Google that will install its Google Play online application store, as well as Gmail, its Chrome Web browser and maps on new Nook tablets. Owners of the latest Nook devices will be able to access the Google services with software updates, the company said.

— From news services

Coming Sunday

l What does the flameout of SunTech, China’s solar giant, mean for industry manufacturers?

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