IBM Execs Sought for Questioning
Jun. 03, 1998
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ An Argentine federal judge signed arrest warrants Tuesday for four current and former IBM officials sought for questioning in an alleged kickback scheme, the judge's aide said.
IBM Argentina has been accused of paying bribes to win a $249 million contract in 1994 to computerize state-owned Banco Nacion, the country's largest bank.
Federal judge Adolfo Bagnasco signed the warrants Tuesday, nearly one month after two ex-Banco Nacion directors admitted having Swiss bank accounts containing cash they said they received for steering the contract to IBM Argentina.
The judge was expected to ask Interpol, the international police agency, for help in arresting the IBM officials outside the country.
Fred McNeese, a spokesman for the Armonk, N.Y.-based computer company, said IBM has not received official notification that Bagnasco's order had been signed.
But he repeated IBM statements that the four current or former company officials are willing to testify before Bagnasco in the United States under the terms of a bilateral U.S.-Argentine treaty.
``They currently have no plans to go to Argentina,'' McNeese said. He described allegations that the U.S.-based IBM officials were aware of any alleged wrongdoing at its Argentine subsidiary as ``unsubstantiated.''
The arrest warrants were for Peter Rowley, Robeli de Libero, Steven Lew and Marcio Kaiser, all of whom worked in IBM's U.S. headquarters at the time of the scandal, the judge's aide said.
Kaiser and de Libero since have left the company, while IBM has shifted the two other employees to posts unrelated to Latin America, IBM officials have said.