Whistleblower says Microsoft spent millions on bribes abroad

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In an essay Friday on the whistleblower platform Lioness, former Microsoft supervisor Yasser Elabd alleged that Microsoft fired him after he alerted management to a workplace the place staff, subcontractors and authorities operators repeatedly engaged in bribery. He additional alleges that makes an attempt to escalate his issues resulted in retaliation inside Microsoft by managers, and eventual termination from his function.

Elabd claims in his essay that he labored for Microsoft between 1998 and 2018, and had oversight right into a “business investment fund ” — primarily a slush fund to “cement longer-term deals” within the Mid-East and Africa. But he grew suspicious of bizarre funds to seemingly unqualified companions. After analyzing a number of impartial audits, he found what he believes is a standard apply: After organising a big sale to entities within the area, a “discount” could be baked in, just for the distinction between the full-freight value and discounted price to be skimmed off and divided between the deal-makers.

“This decision maker on the customer side would send an email to Microsoft requesting a discount, which would be granted, but the end customer would pay the full fee anyway. The amount of the discount would then be distributed among the parties in cahoots: the Microsoft employee(s) involved in the scheme, the partner, and the decision maker at the purchasing entity—often a government official,” Elabd alleged.

The former Microsoft supervisor gave a number of examples of suspicious transactions and purple flags he witnessed over his 20 years working for the company abroad. In one audit, Microsoft gave the Saudi Ministry of the Interior a $13.6 million low cost which by no means reached the company’s doorways. In 2015, a Nigerian official complained that the federal government paid $5.5 million for licenses “for hardware they did not possess.”

In one other instance, Qatar’s Ministry of Education paid $9.5 million, over a interval of seven years, for Microsoft Office and Windows licenses that went unused. Auditors later found that staff at that company didn’t even have entry to computer systems.

“We are committed to doing business in a responsible way and always encourage anyone to report anything they see that may violate the law, our policies, or our ethical standards,” Becky Lenaburg, a VP at Microsoft and deputy normal counsel for compliance and ethics, wrote in an announcement to The Verge. “We believe we’ve previously investigated these allegations, which are many years old, and addressed them. We cooperated with government agencies to resolve any concerns.”

Elabd claims his makes an attempt to alert managers resulted in his being shouted at by one supervisor, iced out of sure offers and informed by an government that he had successfully set himself as much as be let go after trying to contain CEO Satya Nadella. After being terminated, Elabd wrote that he introduced his documentation earlier than the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice. He claims the DoJ refused to take up his case. According to Protocol, the SEC the case earlier this month on account of a scarcity of resources.

“As I alleged in my complaint to the SEC, Microsoft is violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and continues to do so brazenly. And why wouldn’t they?” wrote Elabd. “By declining to investigate these allegations and the evidence I’ve given them, the SEC and DOJ have given Microsoft the green light.”

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