Microsoft Settles Bribery Charges in Hungary with $25 Million Fine to Federal Government
When it comes to some of the biggest companies in the world and their quest to expand into new markets, then there is always a possibility of resorting to unfair means. It can especially crop up if a country is trying to expand into new countries and having very little idea about the ways of doing business, they might resort to simply paying certain people to get the job done. This is something that some of the biggest corporations in the world have often done in order to get their job done.
Microsoft indulged in such corrupt activities during the course of its business dealings in Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Thailand. It has emerged that the tech giant was involved in running a bribery ring and also for rigging a bid in Hungary. Similarly, improper conduct was unearthed in Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. However, the company is going to settle the case by paying fines to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC announced that Microsoft is going to pay $16.6 million as a settlement after it was found to have been in clear violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. For the company’s illegal activities in Hungary, a further settlement payment of $8.75 million is going to be made.
The whole case emanated from a scheme hatched by a set of employees at the company and a senior executive in Microsoft’s offices in Hungary. Microsoft had a lucrative contract with agencies in the Hungarian government by way of which it sold software licenses. However, the employees at the local office inflated the margins in those products. Additionally, the savings made by Hungary got recorded as actual discounts and prosecutors have said that the money has been used for corrupt practices. That being said, the company’s top executives have distanced themselves from the whole affair and branded the whole thing a case of few rotten apples. Brad Smith, who is the President of Microsoft, stated that the behavior of these employees as ‘completely unacceptable.’