NCR stock falls 11 percent following allegations

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA — Shares of NCR Corp. fell 11 percent this week following a whistle-blower’s allegations the company had illegally been doing business in Syria and had bribed officials in Oman and China.

The Duluth, Ga.-based business technology company said Wednesday it is looking into the matter but “does not comment on ongoing internal investigations.”

NCR moved its headquarters from Dayton to Georgia in 2009.

The company addressed the issue in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday, saying: “NCR has received anonymous allegations from a purported whistle-blower regarding certain aspects of the company’s business practices in China, the Middle East and Africa, including allegations which, if true, might constitute violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“NCR has certain concerns about the motivation of the purported whistle-blower and the accuracy of the allegations it received, some of which appear to be untrue.

“NCR takes all allegations of this sort seriously and promptly retained experienced outside counsel and began an internal investigation that is ongoing.”

The company said it had ceased operations in that country and informed the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control of “potential apparent violations.”

U.S. companies were legally allowed to operate direct subsidiaries in Syria. But as conditions there deteriorated, the U.S. government imposed economic sanctions. Now, foreign subsidiaries can’t have an operational relationship with an American parent company.

The whistle-blower also provided the Wall Street Journal documents indicating officials in Oman were given gifts and taken on trips by NCR and that bank officials in China were sent on a trip to a ritzy spa.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act forbids companies from making certain payments to foreign officials to gain their business.

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