Microsoft Partners Bribed Foreign Officials: Report

Dennis Faas's picture

According to reports, United States federal officials are investigating claims that people with ties to Microsoft paid foreign officials to use Microsoft software.

The United States Department of Justice and the Security and Exchange Commission are reportedly investigating these bribery allegations, which pertain to Microsoft activity in China, Italy, and Romania.

The allegations were originally shared with U.S. officials last year.

Business Partner Told to Bribe Chinese Officials

At the time, a Chinese citizen with business ties to Microsoft was told by a representative of the Redmond, Washington-based software firm to offer government officials payment in exchange for their adoption of Microsoft software products.

Put another way, a Chinese whistle-blower with ties to Microsoft (but who was not directly employed by the firm) was told to offer Chinese government officials bribes to secure the government's use of Microsoft products.

Similar allegations have reportedly been made in Italy and Romania. (Source:

If the allegations are proven to be true, Microsoft may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which is a federal law that bars United States companies from paying foreign officials in order to further their financial interests.

Microsoft Says It's Taking Claims "Seriously"

Microsoft vice president and deputy general counsel John Frank refused to comment on the issue. However, Frank did indicate that these kinds of claims are not uncommon and that many are found to be without merit.

"We take all allegations brought to our attention seriously and we cooperate fully in any government inquiries," Frank noted in a recent blog post. (Source:

"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."

Neither the Department of Justice nor the Security and Exchange Commission have offered comment on the matter.

According to reports, previous internal investigations of these claims carried out by Microsoft revealed no wrong-doing.

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