US market regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has directed former Cognizant chief operating officer Sridhar Thiruvengadam to pay a civil penalty of USD 50,000 (over Rs 35 lakh) in a bribery case related to the tech company.
Thiruvengadam, the then COO of US-based Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation, had participated in a scheme with three other Cognizant executives to authorise payment of a USD 2 million bribe on behalf of the company to a government official in India, an SEC document dated September 13 showed.
The payment was made in response to an official's demand to secure the issuance of a planning permit that was necessary for the construction of a commercial office facility in Chennai.
Thiruvengadam served as COO of Cognizant from late 2013 until he was placed on administrative leave in late 2016. Cognizant accepted Thiruvengadam’s resignation in late 2018.
"Respondent (Thiruvengadam) shall, within 10 days of the entry of this order, pay a civil money penalty in the amount of USD 50,000 to the SEC..." it said adding that Thiruvengadam had agreed to the payment without admitting or denying the findings.
Earlier this year, Cognizant had agreed to pay USD 25 million to the SEC to settle its India bribery charges, as Department of Justice filed criminal cases against two if its former top executives.
The two former executives -- former President Gordon Coburn and ex-Chief Legal Officer Steven E Schwartz -- had been charged for their roles in facilitating the payment of bribe, SEC had said.
Cognizant had agreed to pay USD 25 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the SEC had said.
As alleged in that complaint, Coburn and Schwartz had authorised the contractor to pay the bribe and directed their subordinates to conceal the bribe by doctoring the contractor's change orders. The contractor was not named.