Feeds

Sun: 'We may have violated bribery laws'

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Sun Microsystems, which is in the middle of a $5.6bn acquisition by software giant Oracle, said in its 10-Q quarterly financial filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it may have broken bribery laws overseas. The 10-Q filing also put some numbers on what Sun will have to pay if the Oracle acquisition does not go through.

Sun was pretty vague in the filing about exactly what was going on and where, but it said in the legal proceedings section (which appears in all 10-Q and 10-K reports for major companies because they are usually suing or being sued) that during fiscal year 2009 (which ends this June) it "identified activities in a certain foreign country that may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act."

You can learn all you want about the FCPA here at the DoJ site set up specifically for it. But in short, the FCPA was passed in 1977 after more than 400 companies admitted to shelling out more than $300m in bribes to foreign government officials, politicians, and political parties in the mid-1970s. The law was updated in 1988 and again in 1998, and it basically says you can't bribe foreign officials as a way of keeping business. The DoJ is the enforcer of the law and works hand-in-hand with the SEC to investigate allegations of bribery.

"We recently made a voluntary disclosure with respect to this and other matters to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the applicable governmental agencies in certain foreign countries regarding the results of our investigations to date," Sun wrote in the 10-Q filing. "We are cooperating with the DOJ and SEC in connection with their review of these matters and the outcome of these, or any future matters, cannot be predicted. The FCPA and related statutes and regulations provide for potential monetary penalties, criminal sanctions and in some cases debarment from doing business with the U.S. federal government in connection with FCPA violations, any of which could have a material effect on our business."

According to a report at Reuters, Oracle was privy to the information about the bribery allegations and the subsequent investigation prior to making its bid to acquire Sun on April 20. The Wall Street Journal also has an Oracle spokesperson saying the company knew about the issue.

Sun's filing also touches on the merger agreement announced on April 20, where Oracle agreed to shell out $9.50 per share to acquire Sun (the document calls it a merger, but get real). If the deal doesn't go through, the filing said, Sun might be liable to pay a termination fee of approximately $260m and, in certain circumstances, might be responsible for covering Oracle's out-of-pocket expenses relating to the merger agreements up to an additional $45m. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.