|By Maureen O'Gara||
|May 11, 2009 02:00 PM EDT||
On page 40 of its latest 10-Q filing with the SEC, Sun notes that it may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, quotes a lawyer who specializes in this sort of thing as saying that potential violations are usually uncovered when companies are doing due diligence ahead of an acquisition. So that suggests that it could have surfaced during IBM’s due diligence since, as far as anyone knows, Oracle never did any due diligence on Sun.
The filing doesn't specify when the “potential violations” happened or over how long a period of time they occurred, merely that during fiscal 2009, which started last July, Sun “identified activities in a certain foreign country that may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).”
The filing says Sun “initiated an independent investigation with the assistance of outside counsel and took remedial action.” What exactly it didn’t say. Then it “recently made a voluntary disclosure with respect to this and other matters” to the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and “the applicable governmental agencies in certain foreign countries regarding the results of our investigations to date.”
Sun observes that it could be open to “monetary penalties, criminal sanctions and in some cases debarment from doing business with the US federal government in connection with FCPA violations, any of which could have a material effect on our business.”
And, we assume, such a remedy would survive any acquisition by Oracle, whose boss Larry Ellison insists he’s going to keep Sun intact and not sell off its hardware business as widely speculated.
Oracle - which may run Sun as a wholly owned subsidiary - told the SEC that it learned of the matter before it cut the acquisition deal with Sun.
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