SAP boss alleged to have bribed Panama officials

PanamaHats1902The maker of expensive esoteric software, which no one knows what it truly does, has been involved in a conspiracy to bribe Panamanian officials in a bid to secure government contracts, it’s been alleged.

Vicente Eduardo Garcia was SAP’s vice president of global and strategic accounts for Latin America from February 2008 until April 2014, when he was fired. With the plea, he admitted to participating in a scheme to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits bribing foreign officials to obtain business.

He will be sentenced in December 16 before Senior District Court Judge Charles Breyer of the Northern District of California.

It seems that the company is denying it knew anything about the scheme and seems to be blaming Garcia.

SAP said it will continue to cooperate with the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission on the investigation, a spokesman said.

Indeed there is some evidence that Garcia “circumvented SAP’s internal controls, falsified the company’s books and records, and made false statements to SAP in order to lower the price of SAP software to fund the bribery and kickback scheme.”

In 2009 SAP hoped to obtain a multimillion-dollar contract to provide a Panamanian state agency with a technology upgrade package.

Garcia admitted that he conspired with others, including advisors and consultants to SAP, to pay bribes, disguised as sham contracts and false invoices, to Panamanian government officials.

SAP’s Panamanian channel partner secured the contract for $14.5 million, which included $2.1 million in SAP licences. Not long after, the Panamanian government awarded the channel partner additional contracts involving SAP products, the DoJ said.

The SEC said that it had settled with Garcia for enabling SAP to sell software to a partner in Panama at discounts of up to 82 percent while also receiving kickbacks himself.

Garcia has agreed to pay $85,965, the total amount of kickbacks he received, plus prejudgment interest, amounting to a total of $92,395.