Constant dollars

Microsoft pays hundreds of millions in bribes, whistleblower claims

In a startling revelation, a whistleblower has alleged widespread corruption via Microsoft’s foreign contracting activities, claiming that more than $200 million is spent each year on bribes and bribes linked to the technology giant. technology, often in countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Arabia.

Yasser Elabd, recruited by Microsoft in 1998 and who helped market the company’s products in the Middle East and Africa for the next 20 years, said Microsoft used bribes and kickbacks illegal in the Middle East and Africa.

As Director of Emerging Markets for the Middle East and Africa, he enjoyed success and received numerous promotions.

“But eventually, I noticed something strange: a lot of employees younger than me, in lower positions, were driving fancy cars and buying houses sometimes worth millions of dollars. For my part, I don’t couldn’t afford to buy a house, let alone anything fancy.” , despite the success of my career,” he wrote Friday night in an essay published by whistleblower platform Lioness.

“I wondered, naively, if these colleagues had families with money – but if so, why would they work in a Microsoft sales team?”

Elabd said that in 2016, a request for $40,000 was received to expedite the conclusion of an agreement in an African country.

“When I went through the submission, I immediately knew something was wrong. The client did not appear in Microsoft’s internal database of potential clients,” he wrote.

“He had been terminated four months earlier for poor performance in the sales team, and company policy prohibits former employees from working as associates for six months after leaving without special permission. “, said Elabd.

The whistleblower escalated the issue to senior management, and the legal and HR teams halted the $40,000 spend, “but to my surprise did not escalate to Microsoft employees orchestrating false agreement”.

Elabd said he even wrote an email to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and a human resources manager, and a vice president of the company “immediately got back in touch with me, to say that by escalating the matter to Nadella, I had just booked one”. -exit ticket from Microsoft’.”

Eventually, Microsoft put him on a “performance improvement plan”, even though he was one of the top performers on the team.

He also took the reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SE), but “saw little action from the agency.”

In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft said the company is committed to doing business responsibly and “always encourages anyone to report anything they see that may violate the law, our policies, or our ethical standards.

“We believe we have already investigated and responded to these allegations, which date back several years. We have been working with government agencies to resolve any issues,” said Becky Lenaburg, Microsoft vice president and assistant general counsel for the compliance and ethics.

Elabd said he was not the only person at Microsoft to have alleged corrupt practices.

“I know of five other people from various departments who have been fired or forced to resign for reporting financial inconsistencies,” he alleged.

“My estimate is that a minimum of $200 million each year goes to Microsoft employees, partners and government employees,” Elabd said.



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