Feeds

Oracle's Africa dealings under FBI, SEC, DoJ investigation

Ellison's firm up to its neck in the alphabet soup

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Oracle is reported to be under investigation by the US authorities for breaking federal anti-bribery laws in Africa.

The FBI field office in Washington, fraud prosecutors in the Justice Department's criminal division, and attorneys for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are reported to be looking into sales of Oracle databases and applications in unnamed Western and Central African countries.

The agencies are examining if Oracle employees or people acting on behalf of the database giant made improper payments to secure deals in the countries, The Wall St Journal said.

Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, US companies and staff are not allowed to offer bribes to officials representing foreign governments or employees of state-owned companies.

The Wall St Journal does not name its source for the story and Oracle would not comment when contacted by The Reg.

Oracle has been in hot water in the past with the US authorities and politicians.

The DoJ last year took Oracle to court alleging Larry Ellison's software giant had defrauded the US government of hundreds of billions of dollars between 1998 and 2006.

Oracle had been obliged under contract with the US General Services Administration to tell the body when commercial discounts on software had improved and to extend them to government customers. The DoJ said Oracle had misrepresented its true commercial sales practices – meaning government customers received deals on worse terms than customers in the private sector.

Meanwhile, in 2002, state legislators in California investigated a $95m Oracle database contract that had been awarded without other bidders being considered and which saw the state paying for at least $6m in unused Oracle software licences.

Among the fallout from this California database investigation was the end to no-bid contracts on deals worth more than $100,000.

The US government, though, has also proved a valuable friend to Oracle in the past. Colleagues of the DoJ's criminal investigation unit in the antitrust division in 2009 were hard at work lobbying European regulators to let Oracle's purchase of Sun Microsystems sail through.

According to the latest WikiLeaks disclosures, European Commission regulators were concerned that Oracle would hamper development of MySQL, owned by Sun, should the deal proceed. The DoJ's antitrust division had approved Oracle's $7.4bn purchase in August 2009 but concerns lingered inside the European Union: Oracle president Safra Catz met with European Union Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes in October that year and with the US mission to "push for rapid European Commission approval of the merger."

According to the leaked DoJ cable, the DoJ's antitrust unit saw a successful completion of talks between Oracle and EU as a "high priority".

"Its senior officials and investigative staff are currently engaging productively and intensely with their DG COMP counterparts, and are in close touch with Oracle and Sun, in the hopes of preventing a divergent outcome," the leaked cable says. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
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.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
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.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.