Microsoft backs review of foreign bribery allegations
Microsoft Corp said that allegations of potential bribery by employees in China, Romania and Italy should be reviewed by U.S. agencies and its own compliance unit, but declined to address the specifics of any cases.
The software giant's comments came after the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had launched investigations over tips from a former Microsoft employee that the company handed kickbacks to foreign government officials in return for software contracts.
"The matters raised in the Wall Street Journal are important, and it is appropriate that both Microsoft and the government review them," wrote John Frank, the company's deputy general counsel, in a blog post on the company's website.
"We take all allegations brought to our attention seriously and we cooperate fully in any government inquiries," he added, without confirming that the software company was aware of any investigation.
The SEC declined immediate comment. A Justice Department spokesman said he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.
Investigations of potential violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) are fairly common among U.S. companies. Microsoft rival International Business Machines Corp agreed in 2011 to pay $10 million to resolve SEC charges over improper gifts to government officials in South Korea and China, but is still waiting for a judge to sign off on the deal.