PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM agreed to pay about $5.3 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department over accusations that they paid and solicited kickbacks for technology contracts with government agencies.

Under the settlement, PwC will pay $2,316,662, while Big Blue will contribute $2,972,038.50. PwC and IBM are alleged to have paid money and given other benefits to other companies and consultants with whom they had alliance relationships to get business on government contracts. The undisclosed conflicts of interest violated contractual provisions and federal acquisition regulations.

The case stems from a whistleblower lawsuit brought in 2004 by two men who stand to win a portion of the recovered losses under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act.

Three other companies--Accenture, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems--are also accused of paying kickbacks to government consultants in order to win business. The complaints in those cases were filed in Arkansas in April and are still pending. PwC and IBM separately cooperated in the investigation of their activities and settled the case with the government.

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