Microsoft Faces Bribery Scandal In USA
Microsoft is facing a United States federal inquiry over business practices that allegedly enabled third party software suppliers to bribe government officials in Europe.
The Department of Justice will investigate Microsoft for breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, under which it is illegal to engage in bribery schemes that involve kick backs and middlemen.
Microsoft stated that they conducted their own investigation earlier this year, leading to the firing of 4 employees, including country manager Istvan Papp.
The tech giant also said they ended 4 business partnerships in Hungary after the discovery, citing policy breaches.
Microsoft emphasised that they wished to cooperate with authorities.
The alleged scam took place in 2013-2014 and was orchestrated so Microsoft could sell Excel and Word licenses at a heavily discounted rate to third parties. These companies would then sell them to government agencies and officials at market price.
The investigation will target whether money made from the large mark up was used to bribe government officials.
Microsoft was criticised for allegedly engaging in bribery in Pakistan, China, Russia, Romania and Italy when these claims first came to surface in 2013.