August 31, 2011 / 6:13 AM / in 7 years

U.S. probes Oracle on African deals: report

(Reuters) - U.S. authorities are investigating whether business software maker Oracle Corp’s deals in Africa violated federal anti-bribery laws, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Agents in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Washington field office and fraud prosecutors in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division are handling a criminal investigation, which has been underway for at least a year, the Journal reported.

Attorneys at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are also investigating for possible civil violations, sources told the newspaper.

The authorities are investigating the Redwood Shores, California-based company’s software sales in Western and Central African countries, the report said.

The agencies are also examining whether Oracle employees or agents acting on the company’s behalf made improper payments in Africa to secure sales of database and applications software, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which was passed in 1977, prohibits U.S. companies and their employees from offering or paying bribes to foreign government officials or employees of state-owned companies.

A spokeswoman for Oracle declined to comment to the Journal.

FBI’s Washington field office, the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, the SEC and Oracle were not immediately available for comment to Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours.

Reporting by Soham Chatterjee in Bangalore; Editing by Erica Billingham

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