Report: U.S. government looking into Microsoft for foreign bribery

Two departments of the U.S government, the Justice Department and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, are now reportedly looking into claims that Microsoft might have bribed government officials in at least three countries to obtain contracts for software deployments.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, says that the DOJ and SEC are looking into claims that Microsoft's China subsidiary offered some kind of kickbacks to government officials in that country in exchange for signing contracts for software. An anonymous tipster alerted the U.S. government to the claims in 2012, according to the report. The same article claims that Microsoft conducted its own investigation, handled by an outside party, on these same allegations in 2010 but had found no wrongdoing in the matter.

The report claims that the government is looking into similar allegations in Romania and in Italy. In the latter case, there are claims Microsoft used a consultant that allegedly gave Italian procurement officials things such as trips and other gifts in exchange for signing on government contracts.

While spokespersons for the SEC and DOJ have not commented on any investigation, Microsoft's vice president and deputy general counsel John Frank said in a statement:

Like every large company with operations around the world we sometimes receive allegations about potential misconduct by employees or business partners. We cooperate fully in any government inquiries ... We take all allegations seriously and 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.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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