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Xerox paid bribes for Indian government contracts

Xerox has added another twist to its accounting controversy by admitting it paid out bribes totalling up to $700,000 (£458,626) in connection with sales to Indian government customers.

Last week the company announced that it was restating its 1997 to 2001 earnings because of accounting irregularities, reducing its pre-tax income over that period by $1.4bn (£920m).

As part of that restatement, Xerox filed a fresh financial report with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday, in which it briefly touched on 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 $600,000 to $700,000," 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 said in its report that it is also investigating certain transactions of its unconsolidated South African affiliate in connection with an effort to sell supplies outside of its authorised territory, adding that it believed 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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