SAP has also agreed to settle cases brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission and South African authorities. The SEC, which conducted its own investigation, said in addition to touching on South Africa and Indonesia, the alleged bribery scheme also involved officials in Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Azerbaijan. The agency said that the bribery violated the FCPA.
SAP said it has significantly enhanced its compliance program and controls. The company said it has “zero tolerance” for those who don’t adhere to its compliance policies.
SAP employed third-party intermediaries and consultants to pay the bribes starting in at least 2014, according to the SEC. The agency said that the company improperly booked the payments as legitimate business expenses.
The payments were meant to win favor with a variety of entities, including the city of Johannesburg, a South African water company and Eskom Holdings, South Africa’s state-owned power company, according to prosecutors. SAP agents made payments in Indonesia to influence a number of entities there, including the country’s fisheries ministry and a telecommunications agency, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said SAP received credit for its cooperation. The company made employees available, collected complex financial information and quickly imaged phones to capture text messages that could serve as evidence, they said.
SAP also has taken steps to improve its compliance program, including increasing its budget and restructuring its compliance office to ensure its autonomy, prosecutors said. SAP is participating in a Justice Department pilot program that gives companies credit for clawing back executive compensation.
Prosecutors said SAP will pay a criminal penalty of $118.8 million and forfeit $103.4 million, with some credit being given for amounts paid to other authorities and reductions for compensation that was withheld from employees. WSJ