Report: US government expanding bribery probe involving Microsoft

In March, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. government was looking into allegations of possible bribery involving Microsoft representatives in other countries in exchange for contracts. Today, the paper is reporting that probe has expanded to include similar claims in two more countries.

According to the new report, using unnamed sources, one tipster claimed that in Russia, kickbacks were sent to executives of an unnamed state-owned company to secure a contract from resellers of Microsoft's software. Another tipster claims that a consulting firm, with approval from Microsoft, gave a Pakistan government official and his wife a five-day golf trip to Egypt in exchange for a contract.

The Justice Department and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into both of these new claims, according to the report. These are on top of the previous allegations that government officials in China, Romania and Italy also received kickbacks from people who were reportedly working for Microsoft. The company has also reportedly launched its own internal investigation into the matter.

Neither the Justice Department nor the SEC have officially commented on any investigation into Microsoft's overseas business practices. In a statement posted in March, John Frank, Microsoft's vice president and deputy general counsel, said, "We sometimes receive allegations about potential misconduct by employees or business partners and we investigate them fully regardless of the source."

Source: Wall Street Journal | Image via Microsoft

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Because a Microsoft sales guy may have bribed for contracts, doesn't mean it was ok'd by his/her employer. It is obvious if the sales person secures a contract, the contract is ok'd by Microsoft. That doesn't mean they are ok with how the contract was obtained.

Assuming because said employee who works for MS ok'd a deal based on a bride, doesn't mean it company ok'd the bride to secure the deal.

All MS care about is the sale. As long as nothing illegal was done or can be proved, MS is ok with it.

If MS is also investigating, then it could certainly mean they are unaware of such. or how it I said on Mission Impossible - If you are caught we will deny any involvement with you.

Unlikely. MS has a ton of rules about corruption (i.e., don't). If it happened, then that person(s) will be more or less immediately fired.

COKid said,
"five-day golf trip to Egypt"

They have golf cources in Egypt? Do the caddies carry machine guns?

LOL! Nice. However, I've been to Egypt before the "craziness" started, and it is very beautiful. The women aren't bad either. ;-)

Even the craziness is limited to relatively small areas. Most of the people continue on with their lives while it's all happening. New coverage tends to make things look more widespread than they are.

Spicoli said,
Even the craziness is limited to relatively small areas. Most of the people continue on with their lives while it's all happening. New coverage tends to make things look more widespread than they are.
So true!

in the business world this is "normal" not a bribe.... it's almost like the whole yet I'll take you out for a round of golf and a dinner at the country club BS that happens all the time... the company pays for all of it, the other person gets swayed to their side...

Neufuse, that will be considered bribery, especially if you are doing all of these just to sway someone to your side for something particular.

RommelS said,
Neufuse, that will be considered bribery, especially if you are doing all of these just to sway someone to your side for something particular.

here business people call it "negotiation"...

neufuse said,

here business people call it "negotiation"...

It is universal don't you think? However, swaying and taking someone to a golf and dinner is a bribe. Negotiation means that both companies must work together to meet their intended goals.

Why does the US government care about what a US company does to maintain software contracts at other countries?

Because bribery is illegal. Unless you're "donating" to a senator's / president's campaign fund of course. Then it's perfectly legal.

ekw said,
Why does the US government care about what a US company does to maintain software contracts at other countries?

They are a US company chartered by the US Government, they should be held accountable to US laws.

-Razorfold said,
Because bribery is illegal. Unless you're "donating" to a senator's / president's campaign fund of course. Then it's perfectly legal.

this is hilarious really.. (without the intention of harm any feelings of the US people).. is really fun that this came from the N°1 lobbyist country, totally agree with you Razorfold

ekw said,
Why does the US government care about what a US company does to maintain software contracts at other countries?

The have to because the law requires it. Why the laws were written is another issue. It actually puts US companies at a disadvantage.

ekw said,
Why does the US government care about what a US company does to maintain software contracts at other countries?

well its about money, U.S govt want to closely monitor every untaxed money that goes to foreign entities.

Spicoli said,
That's how business is done in a lot of countries. If you don't do it, you might as well just pack up and leave.

Even here in the UK it happens a lot indirectly.

JonnyLH said,

Even here in the UK it happens a lot indirectly.

Same with the US, except here it's called lobbying and it's perfectly legal.

-Razorfold said,

Same with the US, except here it's called lobbying and it's perfectly legal.

Razor, I think you have Lobbying and bribery confused. There is a difference between the two.

Oh please.

Bribery - Giving gifts / money to someone in exchange for favors.
Lobbying - Giving money to senators for their re-election fund so that if/when they get into power they'll vote on laws to benefit you.

Lobbying is pretty much legalized bribery. The government is supposed to listen to the people, not do whatever corporations want because they "donated" some amount of money.

-Razorfold said,
Oh please.

Bribery - Giving gifts / money to someone in exchange for favors.
Lobbying - Giving money to senators for their re-election fund so that if/when they get into power they'll vote on laws to benefit you.

Lobbying is pretty much legalized bribery. The government is supposed to listen to the people, not do whatever corporations want because they "donated" some amount of money.

The primary difference between bribery and lobbying, or to be exact, the kind of contributions most representative of lobbying, is that in bribery there is a specific request being made. When a legislator asks for a specific monetary amount in exchange for the legislator's vote, bribery is taking place. But when the legislator's political party is instead given a donation from a lobbyist, it need not influence the legislator in any particular fashion. No agreement or deal was made for the donation, and as such, it is not considered bribery.

http://criminal.laws.com/bribe...ribery#sthash.czQ74k6Z.dpuf

RommelS said,

The primary difference between bribery and lobbying, or to be exact, the kind of contributions most representative of lobbying, is that in bribery there is a specific request being made. When a legislator asks for a specific monetary amount in exchange for the legislator's vote, bribery is taking place. But when the legislator's political party is instead given a donation from a lobbyist, it need not influence the legislator in any particular fashion. No agreement or deal was made for the donation, and as such, it is not considered bribery.

http://criminal.laws.com/bribe...ribery#sthash.czQ74k6Z.dpuf


You are splitting a whole lotta hairs there.

SiLeNtDeAtH said,

You are splitting a whole lotta hairs there.

With that paragraph, there's a big difference between the two. I suggest you read the entire article.

Exactly if you want to get things done in those countries, you have to bribe the local officials. Funny though about Apple, I have to wonder why they haven't had to.

RommelS said,

With that paragraph, there's a big difference between the two. I suggest you read the entire article.

If the end effect is that money bags get what they want, then legal difference has no meaning.
US government is as corrupt as any third world country - the difference is US has legalized bribery system and those countries don't.

BajiRav said,

If the end effect is that money bags get what they want, then legal difference has no meaning.
US government is as corrupt as any third world country - the difference is US has legalized bribery system and those countries don't.

Geesh, people will just give meaning to everything. Unless you are taking ethics course and exams on a yearly basis, you don't know jack. Sorry to say.

RommelS said,

Geesh, people will just give meaning to everything. Unless you are taking ethics course and exams on a yearly basis, you don't know jack. Sorry to say.

I do and I know exactly what this article is referring to.

I believe people are being naïve to think that lobbying is different than bribery. From a "legal" standpoint, sure I get it. But from the end result, it's about money being used to get what one wants. I recall watching the movie "SICKO" and one scene, it showed a balloon annotation of the amount of money contributed to the various senators/representatives that helped defeat the healthcare bill from Clinton's administration. I get that there are other behind the door political negotiating going on but the end result is that tens and millions of dollars were donated to many campaign funds.

Further, I read that greater than 50% of the elected officials (highest it's ever been) in the Senate and HoR go on to work for lobbyists. It's perfectly legal but again, there is a gray line here about the influence of money. Nothing new and it's about greed.

So, let's not full ourselves in thinking that there is much difference between lobby money/campaign contribution and bribery - whether one is legal or not.

CygnusOrion said,
Exactly if you want to get things done in those countries, you have to bribe the local officials. Funny though about Apple, I have to wonder why they haven't had to.
Really? You mean they haven't gotten caught yet?

Order_66 said,
Is anyone surprised by this?

actually I am, I have seen some of the efforts Microsoft goes to, to stop corrupt activities, especially involving govt officials etc. Every $ that Microsoft employees spend has a mandatory disclosure of $ spent to fund government events or people so legal teams can stop this behavior. They employ special training teams to educate staff about Microsoft policies that this behavior is unacceptable and grounds for mandatory dismissal. If this is true, it appears that some always get through the cracks.

There's corporate center policy and there's the regional management. They'll just throw the payoff onto a general expense ledger and the corporate accountants have no way to tell the difference.