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(IBM) - Get International Business Machines Corporation Report

has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle charges that a subsidiary made illegal payments to foreign officials in 1994.

Shares of the software giant on Thursday took another beating after an

Merrill Lynch

analyst's downgrade yesterday, losing $4.44, or 5.2%, to close at $81.56 in composite trading.

According to a report by


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, federal regulators from the

Securities and Exchange Commission

said the company violated U.S. bookkeeping rules in connection with a $250 million contract to manage the computer system of a commercial bank,

Banco de La Nacion Argentina

, which is owned by the Argentine government.

The SEC charged that former executives of IBM-Argentina paid a subcontractor,

Capacitacion y Computacion Rural

, about $22 million, of which at least $4.5 million was sent to several bank directors by CCR. The executives were accused of overriding IBM contracting procedures, hiding the details of the subcontract, as well as providing fabricated documentation that included a backdated authorization letter. The payments to CCR were also booked as third-party subcontractor expenses, the SEC said.