The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stated that Oracle is to pay a $23 million settlement after being accused of bribing foreign officials in several different countries.
The regulator said that between 2016 and 2019, Oracle companies in India, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates set up slush funds to pay authorities and win new contracts.
The bribes represent a breach of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which forbids American companies from giving or offering anything of value to maintain or obtain business.
Slush funds changed hands
Something similar happened in 2012, when Oracle agreed to pay $2 million to resolve a dispute with the SEC over allegations that it had generated millions of dollars in slush funds to be used in India from 2005 to 2007.
According to the SEC, the slush payments were used to bribe officials to attend technological conferences in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
In Turkey, it is claimed that Oracle sent money to politicians’ families to attend conferences while providing additional funds for them to visit California.
Three strikes, you’re out
Charles Cain, the SEC’s FCPA Unit Chief, said the formation of off-book slush funds naturally implicates that the funds could be directed towards inappropriate use. He added that this case emphasizes the importance of proper internal accounting controls across a company’s operations.
According to the regulator, Oracle will not have to acknowledge or dispute any misconduct as part of the settlement. Still, the business is committed to a cease-and-desist order if it indeed violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Oracle spokesman Michael Egbert said the SEC’s actions are opposed to the company’s fundamental principles and explicit standards. If Oracle detects such activity, Egbert said, it will take necessary action.