SEC fines Oracle nearly $23 million for alleged bribery in India, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fined technology company Oracle Corporation over $23 million for allegedly violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) because its subsidiaries in India, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) allegedly created and used slush funds to bribe foreign officials for business purposes between 2016 and 2019. This is the second case of bribery allegations in India in a decade.
“Oracle India sales workers exploited an excessive discount plan in conjunction with a transaction with a transportation company, whose principal owner was the Indian Ministry of Railways (“Indian SOE”),” claims the SEC ruling. The sales team members involved in the agreement said in January 2019 that there was fierce competition from other original equipment manufacturers and that the deal would be lost without a 70% reduction on the software component of the deal.
According to the article, Oracle required a staff member situated in France to approve the request because of the scale of the discount. The employee agreed to the reduction without requesting more supporting documentation. Oracle India had no rivals, according to the Indian SOE’s publicly accessible procurement website, since Oracle goods were required for the project.
A spreadsheet that was kept by one of the salespeople participating in the deal showed that $67,000 was the “buffer” that might be used to pay a certain Indian SOE official. A company with a history of paying SOE officials received a total of about $330,000, and $62,000 went to a company that was under the control of the sales representatives involved in the deal.
This is the second time Oracle has received a fine for comparable reasons. In 2012, Oracle settled allegations that it had utilised Oracle India to generate millions of dollars in supplemental income that could have been used for illegal activities.
Oracle consented to stop and desist from violating the FCPA’s anti-bribery, books and records, and internal financial controls requirements. In addition, it agreed to pay a $15 million fine and about $8 million in disgorgement without acknowledging or disputing the SEC’s allegations.