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01.08.20

Microsoft Continues to Get Away With Serious Crimes Very Cheaply

Posted in Fraud, Microsoft at 11:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Capone Commits the Crimes, Pays Slush Funds

Summary: Microsoft keeps getting away with criminal behavior and nobody is properly punished for that large number of crimes (even when caught)

IT is not controversial to state that Microsoft is disliked for being a serial and chronic criminal, not just maker of shoddy products (which sometimes require crimes to actually sell). There’s ample evidence and long history of that, with more SEC complaints in the pipeline about additional crimes.

Fernando Cassia brought to my attention this report about Microsoft crimes (we took note of that 3 days later, complaining that nobody was arrested and they do not actually tackle the injustice as no person is punished for the crimes). As one blog (Cassia’s citation) put it back then:

Microsoft Corporation paid the DOJ and SEC $25.3 million Monday to settle FCPA offenses related to its operations in Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Turkey.

A Microsoft subsidiary in Hungary called Microsoft Magyarorszag Kft. paid a criminal penalty of $8.75 million and entered into a three-year non-prosecution agreement with the DOJ.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corporation also disgorged $13.78 million to the SEC, plus prejudgment interest of $2.78 million.

Microsoft first disclosed the FCPA-related investigation in an SEC filing in July 2016, according to data from FCPA Tracker.

The SEC said Microsoft took remedial action and cooperated in the investigation. The company strengthened its internal accounting controls and compliance programs, took disciplinary action against four Microsoft Hungary employees, terminated four Hungarian licensing partners, and began using data analytics to help identify high-risk transactions, among other things.

In an internal administrative order (pdf), the SEC charged Microsoft Corporation with violating the FCPA’s books and records and internal accounting controls provisions.

In Hungary, Microsoft’s subsidiary won $13.7 million in business through “improper payments,” the SEC said.

From at least 2013 through 2015, the Hungary subsidiary paid government officials “through third party vendors, consultants, distributors and resellers, including in circumstances where there was no evidence of any services provided by the third parties.”

“Improper payments were also funded through excessive discounts that Microsoft’s senior executives in Hungary approved based on vague justifications without ensuring they were passed on to the end government customers,” the SEC said.

Of course nobody was arrested; they won’t settle by sentencing them to 10 years in prison or something of that kind as there are far too many lobbyists ensuring that those culpable are essentially above the law. As Ryan put it in IRC some hours ago: “As long as they can just pass the costs of their bad behavior onto people who really didn’t ask for Windows, it was just there… The EU fines were just cost of doing business.”

Lack of personal accountability and punishment can certainly assure repetition, maybe in a more clandestine fashion.

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