Federal prosecutors Tuesday filed charges against Diebold Inc., accusing the North Canton-based ATM and business machine manufacturer of bribing government officials and falsifying documents in China, Indonesia and Russia to obtain and retain contracts to provide ATMs to banks in those countries. The two-count criminal information and deferred prosecution agreement calls for Diebold to pay nearly $50 million in penalties: $23 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and $25 million to the Department of Justice. The agreement with federal prosecutors also calls for the implementation of rigorous internal controls that includes a compliance monitor for at least 18 months. The government agreed to defer criminal prosecution for three years, and drop the charges if Diebold abides by the terms of the agreement. Federal prosecutors acknowledged that Diebold officials voluntarily disclosed the criminal activity, cooperated with government investigators, and conducted its own extensive internal investigation.
Diebold spokesman Mike Jacobsen called the settlement agreement “an important step for the company moving forward.”
“It’s imperative for Diebold to recognize these issues head on, acknowledge responsibility, put the investigation period behind it and get on with the business of managing the company,” Jacobsen said in a prepared statement.
The prosecution agreement includes provisions for Diebold executives and employees to assist federal law enforcement and regulatory authorities, and to testify before a grand jury, if necessary. U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said the nation’s laws apply no matter in what country a company does business.
“Companies that pay bribes to public officials, whether those officials are in Cleveland, in Ohio or overseas, violate the law,” Dettelbach said.