Plantronics Inc. Polycom unit pays $36 million to settle China bribes charges

Plantronics Inc’s Polycom unit, will  pay $36 million in penalties  to settle claims of bribery charges relating to Chinese officials.

The  maker of communications products said that the misconduct had occurred before Plantronics’ acquisition of Polycom in July, and before Polycom went private in 2016. Polycom’s Chinese subsidiary had used local distributors and resellers to make payments to Chinese government officials from 2006 to 2014, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company provided discounts to the third parties with the understanding that they would use the money saved to pay officials who had control over purchasing decisions, the SEC said. When managers recorded details about the deals, they provided false justifications for the discounts, the SEC said. Without admitting or denying the SEC allegations, the company agreed to a roughly $10.7 million disgorgement, and to pay a civil penalty of $3.8 million and $1.8 million interest. The company also agreed to disgorge another $20.3 million as part of a deal with the Justice Department, which, along with the SEC, enforces the U.S. anti-foreign-bribery law.

In a letter posted to its website, the Justice Department said it decided against bringing criminal charges against Polycom because the company, among other things, had voluntarily disclosed its conduct and cooperated with authorities.