GE pays $23M to settle Iraq kickback charges

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WASHINGTON (AP) — General Electric Co. will pay $23.4 million to settle federal charges that some of its subsidiaries paid illegal kickbacks to the government of Saddam Hussein in order to win contracts under a U.N. program.

The Securities and Exchange Commission says GE subsidiaries gave cash, computers, medical supplies and other goods to the Iraqi health and oil ministries from 2000 to 2003.

The SEC says the kickbacks were in return for contracts to supply medical and water purification equipment under the United Nations’ oil-for-food program, which provided humanitarian aid to prewar Iraq.

GE says it agreed to pay a $1 million penalty and give up about $22.5 million in profit and interest earned from the transactions. The company does not admit or deny wrongdoing under the settlement.