(Jacob Bruns, Headline USA) Smartmatic, a voting technology company that is suing Fox News and others who questioned the integrity of its equipment during the 2020 election, has been implicated in a bribery scheme, CNN reported.
According to recently released court documents, the Department of Justice has filed money-laundering charges against former Filipino election administrator Andres Bautista, with the charges implicating four executives from Smartmatic subsidiaries as co-conspirators.
Bautista had given Smartmatic a $199 million contract to supply the Philippines with 94,000 voting machines in 2016—an election won by Rodrigo Duterte.
DOJ documents suggest that Smartmatic executives used slush funds, fake contacts and fake email accounts to take bribes under the code word “salsa.”
Bautista, however, denied all accusations.
“I am surprised to learn about a complaint filed against me. I have never been contacted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about it for comment,” he tweeted. “But let me be very clear. I did not ask for nor receive any bribe money from Smartmatic or any other entity.”
I am surprised to learn about a complaint filed against me. I have never been contacted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about it for comment.
But let me be very clear. I did not ask for nor receive any bribe money from Smartmatic or any other entity. (1/3)
— Andy Bautista (@ChairAndyBau) September 21, 2023
Despite the connections, Smartmatic spokeswoman Samira Saba said in a statement that the Florida-based company’s legal troubles have nothing to do with the quality of its product.
According to Saba, Smartmatic “has never won a project through any illegal means” and claimed that Bautista and the investigation are “not related to Smartmatic election security or integrity.”
The spokeswoman also noted that the company’s business with the Philippines is not legally dubious, despite all appearances to the contrary.
“Dozens of Comelec officials have a say in selecting the provider,” she wrote.
“Over the years Smartmatic has both won and lost bids in the Philippines,” she continued. “It is important to note that this is not related to Smartmatic election security or integrity. Smartmatic always has and always will cooperate with authorities.”