Bribery claims mount for MicrosoftMarch 21 - 9am
Like a rupturing volcano coming to the boil, a bribery scandal involving Microsoft has exploded into life.
Potentially landing the software giant in hot water, U.S. Federal Authorities are investigating the company’s involvement in the paying of bribes to overseas government officials in exchange for business.
While the case remains in the early stages with nothing proved, the Justice Deparment and the Securities and Exchange Commission have both opened preliminary investigations into the allegations.
Accused of bribing officials in China, Italy and Romania, the confidential legal matter did not stop Microsoft responding, albeit vaguely.
“We take all allegations brought to our attention seriously and we cooperate fully in any government inquiries,” said John Frank, Microsoft vice president in a blog post.
“Like other large companies with operations around the world, we sometimes receive allegations about potential misconduct by employees or business partners, and we investigate them fully regardless of the source.
“We also invest heavily in proactive training, monitoring and audits to ensure our business operations around the world meet the highest legal and ethical standards.”
With news breaking on Tuesday this week, it appears Barack Obama’s government has taken a fresh look at overseas bribery, citing a new aggressive approach in dealing with the problems.
Microsoft initially conducted it’s own investigation into allegations coming from China in 2010, finding no trace of inappropriate behaviour.
Yet if the company, along with a 100 other firms under investigation, is found in breach of the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the bill will likely to be astronomical.
German firm Siemens forked out US$800m in 2008 to end investigation into it’s own company, just imagine how much it would have been without an out of court settlement?
While innocence until proven guilty remains true, Microsoft will be hoping the controversy ends sooner rather than later, as irrelevant of the verdict – mud sticks.
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