Oracle sued by former employee, accused of shady cloud accounting

The former senior finance manager claims that Oracle pushed her "to fit square data into round holes, in an effort to bolster Oracle Cloud Services financial reports."
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

A former employee of Oracle is suing the software giant, claiming the company fired her in retaliation for attempts to blow the whistle on shady cloud accounting practices.

The former senior finance manager, Svetlana Blackburn, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, claiming that upper management at Oracle was trying to push her "to fit square data into round holes, in an effort to bolster Oracle Cloud Services financial reports that would be paraded before company leadership as well as the investing public."

Her superiors, Blackburn alleges, "instructed her to add millions of dollars in accruals to financial reports, with no concrete or foreseeable billing to support the numbers." When she refused to do so, "executives above her in the chain of command went ahead and added accruals on their own," the suit says. When Blackburn threatened to blow the whistle, she was terminated in October 2015, the suit alleges.

Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger issued a statement saying that the compay is "confident that all our cloud accounting is proper and correct."

"This former employee worked at Oracle for less than a year and did not work in the accounting group," she said. "She was terminated for poor performance and we intend to sue her for malicious prosecution."

Oracle's cloud business has faced skepticism, but the company touted strong cloud sales growth for the fiscal third quarter, reporting that cloud software and platform as a service sales were $583 million, up 57 percent from a year ago. Oracle CEO Safra Catz said its cloud business was in a "hyper-growth phase." CTO Larry Ellison added that Oracle's product breadth "should make it easy for us to pass Salesforce.com and become the largest SaaS and PaaS cloud company in the world."

Meanwhile, Oracle has continued to acquire a range of cloud vendors.

Oracle in recent days has gone to court in a series of high profile cases. HP Enterprise is currently seeking $3B from the software company for its decision to drop support for the Itanium chip. Last month, Oracle lost a major court battle with Google over Google's use of Java APIs.

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