Akamai-oh-my: Network biz coughs up $650k over China bribes rap

SEC settles case over alleged payoffs in Middle Kingdom

Content delivery network Akamai will pay the US government more than $650k to settle charges it bribed Chinese officials to secure service contracts.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that it has inked a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) with Akamai that includes the network pipeline specialist paying back $652,452 worth of disgorgement plus $19,433 in interest.

The payouts will settle charges that Akamai's Chinese subsidiary paid off state officials with $40,000 in cash payouts, gifts and entertainment. In exchange, the officials allegedly agreed to purchase larger-than-needed service packages from Akamai for their agencies, resulting in more lucrative contracts for the company.

In agreeing to the NPA, Akamai avoids being brought up on charges of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and, should the company adhere to the terms of the agreement (including cooperating with future bribery investigations and making employees available for interviews), it will avoid having to pay any further fines.

The SEC said that Akamai self-reported the bribes to the SEC, a decision that the commission said helped to speed up the process and encourage the signing of the NPA deal [PDF].

The SEC also lauded Akamai for its cooperation with the investigation, including providing translated copies of the Chinese contracts and terminating the employees directly responsible for the bribes.

"When companies self-report and lay all their cards on the table, non-prosecution agreements are an effective way to get the money back and save the government substantial time and resources while crediting extensive cooperation," said SEC enforcement division director Andrew Ceresney.

Akamai was not the only company to report the infractions. Nortek, a building materials manufacturer, also reported paying bribes and signed a $291,403 NPA deal that was announced alongside Akamai's. ®

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