IT Giant Cognizant To Pay $25 Million To Settle India Bribery Charges

MAJOR American IT player Cognizant will pay $25 million to the US security and exchange commission to settle its India bribery charges, as department of justice filed criminal cases against two if its former top executives.

The two former executives have been charged for their roles in facilitating the payment of millions of dollars in bribe to an Indian government official, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) said.

Cognizant has agreed to pay $25m to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the SEC added.

The complaint alleges that in 2014, a senior Tamil Nadu state official demanded a $2m bribe from the construction firm responsible for building Cognizant’s 2.7 million square foot campus in Chennai.

As alleged in the complaint, Cognizant’s president Gordon Coburn and chief legal officer Steven E Schwartz authorised the contractor to pay the bribe and directed their subordinates to conceal the bribe by doctoring the contractor’s change orders.

The SEC also alleges that Cognizant authorised the construction firm to make two additional bribes totaling more than $1.6m. Cognizant allegedly used sham change order requests to conceal the payments it made to reimburse the firm, SEC said.

The SEC charged Coburn and Schwartz with violating anti-bribery, books and records, and internal accounting controls provisions of the federal securities laws.