Tyco to pay $26.8 million in U.S. foreign bribery case

WASHINGTON Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:38pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tyco International Ltd agreed to pay $26.8 million to resolve U.S. charges that it paid bribes to officials of foreign governments and misreported such payments, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In addition, a Tyco subsidiary in the Middle East, Tyco Valves & Controls Middle East Inc, pleaded guilty on Monday and admitted it paid bribes to officials employed by the state-controlled oil and gas company in Saudi Arabia in order to obtain contracts with it.

The Justice Department's criminal division entered into a non-prosecution agreement with Tyco International, which agreed to pay a $13.68 million penalty to the department. Tyco also agreed to pay $13.1 million in returned profits and interest to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Tyco's subsidiaries operating in Asia and the Middle East saw illicit payment schemes as a typical way of doing business in some countries, and the company illicitly reaped substantial financial benefits as a result," Scott Friestad, associate director of the SEC's enforcement division, said in announcing the settlement.

Brett Ludwig, a spokesman for Tyco, said the company was pleased to have reached a final resolution on the issues and is committed to maintaining rigorous compliance programs across its business units.

The conduct came to light through a review of Tyco's operations following a 2006 settlement, according to court documents.

The Switzerland-headquartered conglomerate undertook a review of whether its global operations complied with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act following an April 2006 settlement to resolve foreign bribery and other charges. That review uncovered certain additional improper payments and mis-recorded expenses around the world, the SEC said.

Tyco's former electronics unit, TE M/A-COM, Inc, for example, made illicit payments in connection with a 2006 sale of microwave equipment to a state-controlled entity in Turkey, the SEC said.

Tyco's China unit improperly recorded a $3,700 payment in 2005 to a team at a state-owned corporation in connection with a $770,000 contract with the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, the SEC said.

Tyco units around the world including in Germany and France also improperly recorded payments made in other countries, the SEC said.

(Additional reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Gary Hill, Tim Dobbyn and Leslie Adler)

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