Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Romanian Prosecutors Open Probe of Microsoft Licenses

Romanian anti-corruption prosecutors opened an investigation in connection with licenses acquired by the Romanian government from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)

Prosecutors are questioning local Microsoft directors and current or former government officials about a $105 million contract to supply Microsoft Office licenses to Romanian schools and other institutions from 2004 to 2009, according to a statement on the prosecutors’ office website. The probe is centered on whether accusations of influence peddling, bribery and abuse of office have merit and is not targeting specific individuals for now, it said.

“There are clues that the price for the licenses was increased by about 5.4 million euros ($7.3 million),” the office said. Microsoft Romanian press office didn’t respond to Bloomberg phone calls seeking comment.

Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, said last year that it’s cooperating with U.S. federal authorities investigating possible illegal activity by employees and business partners in Russia and Pakistan.

The statement followed a Wall Street Journal report that federal regulators are extending their examination of the company’s relations with business partners who allegedly bribed foreign officials for contracts.

The investigation had earlier looked into allegations made by a former Microsoft representative in China, and the company’s relationships with resellers and consultants in Romania and Italy, the newspaper said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net James M. Gomez, Michael Winfrey

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