Cops raid IBM’s Moscow office

Police raided IBM Corp.’s Moscow headquarters Wednesday in addition to two other IT suppliers in a US$38.18 million investigation into procurement fraud, government officials said Thursday. IBM spokesman Jonathan Batty confirmed that the raid had taken place. However, he wouldn’t say if the authorities seized documents or computer equipment.

“We’re stating for the time being that we are cooperating with the Russian authorities but declining to give any further comment now,” Batty said.

Later on Thursday, Russia’s Interior Ministry said the raids were part of an investigation into computer purchases by the country’s Pension Fund. Executives of the Pension Fund are accused of conspiring to buy equipment from the companies at higher-than-market prices, according to Novosti, one of Russia’s government-owned news agencies.

The other two IT companies raided are Lanit Group, a Russian company that deals in outsourcing software development, and R-Style Group, a supplier of computers, peripherals and office equipment, according to the Moscow Times.

Interfax News Agency reported that 10 locations around Moscow were raided by masked officers carrying rifles, although it was not immediately clear which law enforcement agency the officers represented.

Also reportedly raided were the headquarters of the Pension Fund, which manages $57.5 billion in pensions and the Information and Computer Technologies Industry Association, according to the Moscow Times.

(Pavel Kupriyanov of Computerworld Russia contributed to this story).

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