Microsoft has confirmed that the company is working with U.S. authorities to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption by employees and partners in Russia and Pakistan.
The confirmation comes after The Wall Street Journal reported that an ongoing probe was focusing on potential illegal activity in China, Italy and Bulgaria -- before expanding to include Pakistan and Russia. Microsoft employees and business partners allegedly engaged in illegal activity including the bribery of foreign officials for contracts.
According to the Journal, a tipster told Microsoft that software resellers have bankrolled executives of a state-owned firm to win contracts in Russia. In Pakistan, a tipster has claimed that Microsoft employees authorized a luxury trip for a government official and his wife to win a tender. Both actions were alleged to have taken place in the last eight months.
In a blog post, John Frank, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft acknowledged the report, confirming that the investigation is taking place, and Microsoft is cooperating fully with authorities.
"As previously stated, we take every allegation seriously, and we cooperate fully in any government inquiries," Frank writes. "Like other large companies with operations around the world, we sometimes receive allegations about potential misconduct by employees or business partners, and we investigate them fully, regardless of the source."
Frank also explained that Microsoft "invests heavily" in training, monitoring and audits, and hires over 50 people who investigate potential breaches of company policy. In addition, 120 people within the firm hold primary roles in monitoring and enforcing compliance. The VP says:
"We are proud of the role Microsoft plays in bringing technology to businesses, governments, non-profits and consumers around the world and the positive economic impact the company has in local communities, and we remain committed to the highest legal and ethical standards in every country where we do business."