Xerox paid bribes for Indian government contracts

Xerox Corp. has added another twist to its accounting controversy by admitting it paid out bribes totalling up to US$700,000 in connnection with sales to Indian government customers.

Last week the Stamford, Connecticut, company announced that it was restating its 1997 to 2001 earnings due to accounting irregularities, reducing its pretax income over that period by US$1.4 billion.

As part of that restatement, Xerox filed a new 10-K form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday, in which it briefly touched upon its payment of bribes.

“In India, we have learned of certain improper payments made over a period of years in connection with sales to government customers by employees of our now majority-owned subsidiary in that country. This activity was terminated when we became aware of it. We have investigated the activity and recently reported it to the staff of the SEC. We estimate the amount of such payments in 2000, the year the activity was stopped, to be approximately US$600 to $700 thousand,” Xerox said in statement filed with the SEC..

Xerox gave no further information about the improper payments.

Representatives at Xerox could not immediately be reached for comment.

Xerox also said in the report that it is currently investigating certain transactions of its unconsolidated South African affiliate in connection with an effort to sell supplies outside of its authorized territory.

The company also said it believes it has disproved, based on its initial investigation, “an allegation that improper payments were made in connection with government sales in a South American subsidiary.”

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