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Argentine Feds still chase IBMers

A judge has requested extraditions in connection with a fraud case

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Argentine Federal Judge Adolfo Bagnasco yesterday formally requested the extradition of two IBM employees to face charges of fraud and bribery. The request was made in connection with a long running Argentine case where it is alleged that $21 million in bribes was paid to secure a contract for IBM Argentina. The two IBM employees, Steven Lew and Peter Rowley, have been accused of involvement by former IBM Argentina president Ricardo Martorana. The $249 million contract, to install a computer system for the state Banco Nacion, was a flop, and the murk surrounding it was one of the factors that induced IBM to pull out of South American contracts earlier this year. But the scandal itself won't go away. The IBMers and a couple of former IBMers seem willing to offer testimony in the US for the Argentine case, but the judge doesn't want to cut this kind of deal, arguing that they're the accused, and should therefore be physically in the dock. A clutch of former IBM Argentina and Banco Nacion officials are already in the frame, but the judge wants to pursue the nature of the oversight exercised by IBM US HQ at the time of the contract, and hence to determine the level of involvement of US employees. ® Click for more stories.

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