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Bloomberg News

By Lindsay Fortado – Jul 22, 2011 7:16 AM ET

Macmillan Publishers Ltd. was fined 11.3 million pounds ($18.4 million) over possible bribes to win contracts for education materials in Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.

The book publisher, based in Basingstoke, England, was ordered by a London court to pay the settlement after an internal investigation found evidence its processes for bidding on contracts “were susceptible to improper relationships,” the U.K. Serious Fraud Office said in a statement today.

“It was impossible to be sure that the awards of tenders to the company in the three jurisdictions were not accompanied by a corrupt relationship,” the SFO said. “It was plain that the company may have received revenue that had been derived from unlawful conduct.”

The investigation began after the World Bank Group told the City of London Police that Macmillan tried to pay a bribe to win a contract in Southern Sudan. The police searched premises in December 2009 to gather evidence and Macmillan reported the case to the SFO in March 2010, the prosecutors saidRead more.