According to a new report, Microsoft’s business partners may have engaged in illegal activity in three different countries. The question is, did Microsoft play a role in these alleged illegal activities? Microsoft has issued a statement regarding this issue and reiterates its commitment to compliance.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are investigating Microsoft’s relationship with business partners who allegedly bribed foreign government officials in return for software contracts. Apparently, these kickback allegations were made by a former Microsoft representative in China, as well as certain re-sellers and consultants in Romania and Italy.
Back in 2008, a probe was conducted thanks to a Chinese tipster who alleged that a Microsoft executive made the tipster offer kickbacks to Chinese officials in return for signing off on software contracts. This probe concluded and found no wrongdoing on Microsoft’s part. The same Chinese tipster was involved in a labor dispute with Microsoft in China back in 2008. This new issue comes from an “anonymous tipster” who passed along this information to US investigators in 2012.
“We take all allegations brought to our attention seriously, and we cooperate fully in any government inquiries. 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, compliance systems, monitoring and audits to ensure our business operations around the world meet the highest legal and ethical standards,” Microsoft’s Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, John Frank stated.
Frank admits that allegations are made from time to time due to the large size of the company. “It is also possible there will sometimes be individual employees or business partners who violate our policies and break the law. In a community of 98,000 people and 640,000 partners, it isn’t possible to say there will never be wrongdoing,” Frank adds. Microsoft is committed to compliance and will cooperate with the government to resolve this issue.