Feeds

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

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

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?