Smartmatic not looking so smart.
The Philippines’ Commission on Elections (COMELEC) moved Wednesday to ban Smartmatic PH, a voting technology company, after the U.S. Justice Department filed criminal charges against a former COMELEC official alleging that he was bribed by Smartmatic in exchange for winning contracts in the Philippines.
Smartmatic is suing numerous media outlets and individuals for defamation related to the 2020 United States presidential election claiming that media coverage of it harmed its reputation.
In its action, COMELEC said Smartmatic had been “disqualified and disallowed” after the Justice Department alleged that it had bribed Andres Bautista, the former COMELEC chairman, and other Filipino officials $4 million in exchange for obtaining a contract for election machines, according to a report in CNN Philippines.
In September, the U.S. Justice Department filed money-laundering charges against Bautista in a case allegedly involving four executives from subsidiaries of Smartmatic, according to a U.S. Southern District of Florida court filing, CNN reported.
Both Bautista and Smartmatic have denied the allegations.
Still, COMELEC said its action against Smartmatic was taken to “uphold the integrity” of the nation’s polls.
The COMELEC en banc said in a 17-page resolution that the United States government has been seeking its assistance in getting access to records since as early as October 2022 for its investigation into violations of several U.S. laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act specifically states that it is illegal for companies to engage in deals in foreign countries through bribes or other illegal business practices.
US companies in foreign lands are always staying away from such practices if they are ethical and above the law. In some countries this is the way the locals do business but it is against US law.