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Pfizer Agrees To Pay SEC More Than $26 Million To Settle Foreign Bribery Claims

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* Settlement relates to payments in eight countries

* Pfizer to pay $26.3 million to SEC

* Affected countries include Russia, Bulgaria, China, Italy

Aug 7 (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc agreed to pay $26.3 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as part of a settlement with the U.S. government following a probe into the drugmaker's use of illegal payments to win business overseas, according to court papers released on Tuesday.

The company also entered a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, according to the papers. Any financial settlement with the DOJ was not immediately announced.

The settlement, which was expected, is part of a broad crackdown on bribery by multinational companies in foreign countries that has affected several of the world's top pharmaceutical companies.

The agreement resolves issues dating back to 2004 relating to improper payments to officials by Pfizer units in Russia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Czech Republic, China and Italy.

The 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it illegal for U.S. companies and foreign firms whose stock is traded in the United States to bribe government officials in foreign countries.

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