As reported yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is under investigation by the Department of Justice and Securities Exchange Commission regarding allegations of bribes paid by a European distributor to foreign government officials. This would violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). As reported, the Chinese bribery allegations against Microsoft were brought to the attention of the DOJ and SEC by an anonymous whistleblower. Whistleblowers revealing foreign bribes by publicly traded corporations are able to collect rewards of up to 30% of what the government collects as a result of the passage of the Dodd Frank Act a year ago. Under the FCPA companies may have liability for bribes paid on their behalf by foreign intermediaries even if the company is not aware of the bribe.
The allegations against Microsoft are part of a string of allegations and investigations against major corporations now ongoing. The numbers of whistleblower allegations have increased significantly and the amount of bribes to foreign officials to obtain business is significant and a major target by the DOJ and SEC. Recently Wallmart has come under scrutiny for allegations of bribes in Mexico and South America. Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.