Global Software Company Pays $220M to Settle US Bribery Accusations

Published: 12 January 2024

Sap GermanyThe company, founded in 1972 and headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, has more than 105,000 employees worldwide. It develops software to make companies more efficient. (Photo: MichaelBr90, Wikimedia, License)

By Lieth Carrillo

The Germany-based international software company SAP will pay over US$220 million to settle corruption accusations by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who claim it paid bribes to government officials in South Africa and Indonesia in exchange for government contracts.

Between 2013 and 2017, SAP is said to have bribed South African officials and falsified books, records, and accounts to obtain improper advantages related to various public contracts with the City of Johannesburg, the City of Tshwane, the Department of Water and Sanitation, and Eskom Holdings Limited, a South African-owned and controlled energy company, among others.

Between 2015 and 2018, the company allegedly did the same in Indonesia when dealing with the country’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the state-owned Telecommunications and Information Accessibility Agency.

The company delivered to foreign officials payments in cash, made political contributions, wire transfers and handed out luxury items, the Department of Justice statement said.

SAP, charged for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), entered into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement to resolve the allegations. The company will pay a criminal penalty of $118.8 million and an administrative forfeiture of $103,396,765. Additionally, up to $55.1 million of the criminal penalty will be deducted by the Department to resolve an investigation by South African law enforcement authorities.

“The sustained diligence by the prosecution team and continuous collaboration with South African law enforcement, regulators, and prosecutors identified corrupt activity in multiple countries. The FBI will continue our nonstop efforts to identify, investigate, and prosecute companies willfully engaging in corrupt activities around the world,” the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office stated.