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Oracle to pay $23m to settle foreign bribery charges

Database Company Oracle will pay $23 million in a settlement with the United States government over bribery schemes foreign company sales representatives and partners allegedly perpetrated for about three years.

According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, this is the second time the Austin, Texas-based database services and cloud vendor has been caught creating slush funds overseas.

The new charges are for schemes perpetrated by Oracle’s subsidiaries in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and India.

Oracle did not admit or deny the SEC’s findings, which cover actions committed between 2016 and 2019. But Oracle did take steps to prevent the schemes in the future, according to the SEC.

Oracle will pay $8 million in disgorgement which is based on the profits made from wrongful conduct plus a $15 million penalty.

SEC decided to settle with Oracle due in part to the company cooperating with the investigation, sharing information, providing translations of key documents, and facilitating interviews with current and former employees of the foreign subsidiaries.

The Capital Markets Board of Turkey, Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority, and the Securities and Exchange Board of India assisted the SEC with the investigation.

The SEC last sanctioned Oracle in 2012 for violating the FCPA when an Oracle subsidiary secretly set aside about $2 million from the company’s books to make payments to “phony vendors in India.” Some of the phony vendors were storefronts that didn’t provide any services to Oracle, with Oracle India employees covering their tracks with fake invoices.

Oracle had to pay a $2 million penalty to settle the 2012 charges, which related to actions Oracle India took between 2005 to 2007.

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas, Editing by Omotola Oguneye