March 1 (Reuters) - Qualcomm Inc has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle charges that it violated U.S. anti-bribery laws by hiring relatives of Chinese officials to obtain business, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday.
The Chinese officials related to Qualcomm's new hires were deciding whether to select the company's mobile technology products amid growing competition in the global telecommunications market, the SEC said.
A Qualcomm spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment. The company neither admitted nor denied the SEC's findings, the agency said.
An SEC investigation also found that the San Diego-based telecommunications company also provided gifts, travel, and entertainment to try to influence officials at government-owned telecom companies in China.
Qualcomm lacked sufficient internal controls to detect those improper payments and misrepresented them in the company's books and records as legitimate business expenses, the SEC said. (Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by David Gregorio)