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Ex-SAP exec sent down for 22 months after bribing govt IT officials

Panamanian bungs backfired

A former regional director of SAP has been sentenced to 22 months in jail – plus three years of supervised release – for greasing the palms of government IT buyers.

Vicente Eduardo Garcia, 65, of Miami, Florida, pleaded guilty in August to bribing Panamanian government officials to secure a contract for one of the company's resellers.

Garcia gave $145,000 in bribes to one official, and promised bungs to two more, to push through a $14.5m SAP reseller deal – a contract worth $2.1m in licenses to SAP. Garcia received more than $85,000 in kickbacks, all of which he was forced to pay to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The FBI brought a criminal case against Garcia, who told the Feds his conspirators used sham contracts and false invoices to disguise the bribes. He argued that he thought the bribes were necessary to get the contracts.

In an effort to hide the money, Garcia disguised the payments by taking out a phony contract with one official's brother-in-law for "consulting services." He then set up a slush fund by selling SAP software at an 82 per cent discount to a reseller in Panama who sold the software on at a much higher price. Garcia took a cut of the profits.

According to the SEC, Garcia lied to his employers about the discounts and was caught when he used his personal email account and SAP email account to discuss the transactions. ®

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