Feeds

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

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

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes

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. ®

A new approach to endpoint data protection

More from The Register

next story
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?