Microsoft agrees to pay $25M to settle Hungary bribery case

Software and tech giant Microsoft has agreed to pay more than $25 million to settle a Hungarian bribery case, the U.S. Justice Department announced Monday.

Microsoft Hungary sold its software at a discount, but instead of passing the savings on to customers, it used the money for “corrupt” practices, the Justice Department said. File Photo by John Angelillo

Microsoft Hungary must pay more than $16 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission and $8.7 million in criminal penalties as a result of a Justice Department investigation.

The subsidiary is accused of participating in a scheme to provide discounts on software sales to Hungarian government agencies. Instead of passing those savings on to the customers, they were used for “corrupt purposes” and falsely recorded.

The Justice Department said those actions violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Though Microsoft Hungary didn’t report the misconduct, the Justice Department said it gave the company credit for cooperating with investigators and for enacting remedial measures. Microsoft terminated its relationship with four licensing partners and implemented new internal controls.

The SEC said Microsoft subsidiaries in Saudi Arabia and Thailand also offered improper gifts to foreign government officials and employees of non-government companies, through slush funds.

ByDanielle Haynes