1. AWS - 'Corruption of a high order'
That's what Oracle is accusing AWS and Pentagon officials of engaging in in order to secure the department's $10bn Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (or JEDI) contract to be its sole cloud provider.
The allegation is that AWS persuaded officials to write the contract's criteria to effectively make it so any company outside of AWS (and Azure) is incapable of meeting them.
The fall out
The court case has thrown a spanner in the works in one of the US government's most expensive IT projects.
Microsoft Azure is contracted to deliver - as despite the controversy, AWS lost the eventual bid.
Yet, is unclear as to when it can start replacing the Pentagon's legacy systems, throwing the JEDI contract into disarray.
In a U.S. Court of Federal Appeals notice, Oracle fired the opening salvo in its latest attempts to force the Pentagon to make changes to the JEDI contract, and open the process up for bidding again.
Despite the $10bn up for grabs being one of the largest federal contracts in history, it's hardly the first time corruption allegations have tainted IT procurement.
2. Atea - 'A completely different company"
In June 2018, Nordic reseller giant Atea was slapped with a ban on doing any business in the public sector by the Denmark's Ministry of Finance.
The interdict stemmed from bribery allegations, which prosecutors claimed occurred between 2009 and 2014.
Ex-Group CEO Claus Hougesen received a ten month prison sentence along with three other former Atea employees.
At the time Atea CEO Steiner Sønsteby insisted that the firm "is a completely different company today than it was during the period under investigation."
"We look forward to putting the charges against the company behind us," commented Steinar Sønsteby, CEO of Atea.
The fall out
The ban was lifted two months later. However, the damage was done. The VAR derives around 60 per cent of its group revenues from public sector contracts, while iDenmark is its third largest market.
A decade on, the scandal continues to be an albatross for the Nordic powerhouse.
In its most recent financials, Atea Denmark's EBIT still ran at a loss for Q3, driving Sønsteby to apologise again in a video presentation to investors.
3. HP - 'Secret books and sham transactions'
In 2014, HP, pled guilty in US federal court to engaging in felony violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for more than a decade.
HP admitted that employees paid "significant bribes" to Russian officials in return for large contracts worth more than $44m.
HP and its subsidiaries had to pay $108m as a result in criminal and regulatory penalties.
In a broadside against practices in the sector, the US Justice Department added:
"HP Russia thought that they could play by a different set of rules...
"Unfortunately, they are not alone.
"Tech companies, like all companies, must compete on a level playing field, not resort to secret books and sham transactions to hide millions of dollars in bribes."
The fall out
In the same month the US Justice Department hit HP with fines for its Russian subsidiary, it also condemned what it called "wider corrupt activities", hinting that the vendor could face a ten-year ban from another one of its key markets, Canada.
In response, Canada's Public Works Minister told reporters that HP did run afoul of the country's automatic ban on future government contracts for firms convicted of bribery, even if those crimes occurred outside Canada.
The Public Works Department had previously had contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars with HP Canada.
4. SAP - 'Second allegation in two years'
German software giant SAP and its local partner Twenty Third Century Systems (TTCS) have been accused of bribery in order to secure a multimillion-dollar software contract in Tanzania and Kenya, SAP's second allegation of corruption in two years.
In 2017, SAP paid out R128.6m ($9.2m) to companies linked to South Africa's Gupta family, who are accused of numerous cases of state-related corruption.
The fall out
SAP is now subject to multiple cross-border investigations, in Kenya, South Africa and in the US for how it won contracts with African state companies.
SAP is subject to the US' Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as it's listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Due to a whistle-blower, the US SEC and Department of Justice are investigating deals that were made in 2014 and 2015. It's claimed that TTCS bribed Tanzania Ports Authority officials with $800,000 to win a $6.6m contract, with SAP's knowledge.
5. Oracle - ‘Multiple rounds with the US government'
Back to Oracle, but this time, as a suspected perpetrator of "defrauding" US taxpayers on several occasions.
In fact, Oracle and the US government have been through multiple rounds in the courts.
The fall out
In 2010, the US government sued Oracle for overcharging the federal government by "more than $1bn in sales ".
Oracle lost that round and had to pay $199.5m, plus interest, to settle over a long-running US government software contract.
In the same year, Oracle was then mired in a kickbacks controversy.
Spurred by a whistleblower, Oracle then coughed up $46m to settle complaints that Sun Microsystems, which merged with Oracle in 2010, engaged with other technology vendors in a kickbacks scheme affecting government contracts.
Meanwhile, a plethora of other skirmishes with US authorities aside, Oracle Romania CEO, Sorin Mindrutescu, is also facing bribery charges in an investigation by the country's anti-corruption agency.
Prosecutors say that Mindrutescu demanded bribes from representatives of several partner IT firms in exchange for favourable price offers, and received €869,000 in bribes in eight different instances between September 2009 and November 2013.
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