Who exactly are your partners?

“U.S. Probes Microsoft on Bribery,” The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2018 B1.  DOJ probes sales of software licenses to middlemen for ultimate sales to smaller governments.

Did the middlemen in, say, Hungary, share their discounted purchase price with government officials by way of bribes?  Even if they did, is Microsoft liable?  Unless the middlemen were Microsoft sales agents (who didn’t take title to the software licenses), or Microsoft knew of the scheme, hard to see FCPA liability for Microsoft.  Were the middlemen business partners of Microsoft, or just intermediate purchasers?

The ethics of the people with whom you do business can come back to bite you.  Your policies may apply by contract to consultants and third parties that you engage, but do they apply to the people to whom you sell/license your product?

 

 

 

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Filed under Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Duty, Governance, Oversight, Policy, Third parties, Vendors

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