Monday, 28 March 2016 11:02

Romanians jailed over Microsoft licence embezzlement Featured

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A former Romanian minister and three others have been jailed for embezzling the discount offered by Microsoft for software provided to schools.

A news report on the Balkan Insight website said the high court of cassation and justice jailed Gabriel Sandu for two years for money laundering, abuse of office and bribery.

The other three people involved were Gheorghe Stefan, the former mayor of the eastern town Piatra Neamt, and two businessmen. They were given jail terms of up to three years for acting as middlemen. The court's verdict can be appealed.

The four men were also fined about €10 million.

During the trial, the four men told the court they used their influence to get the government to approve the purchase of Microsoft licences. They then took kickbacks from others who had an interest in seeing the deal go through.

Sandu was accused of getting €3 million and asking for a further €1.3 million to ensure that he could choose the company that would handle the deal.

The deal was worth US$105 million and was meant to supply Microsoft Office licences to school. Prosecutors said the four men embezzled the 47 per cent discount that Microsoft offered the government.

The men also solicited bribes to ensure that Fujitsu Siemens Computing would get the contract, at a price that was bloated by 40 per cent.

Investigations showed that US$20 million of the total $US54 million paid by the government went in commissions to public officials.

The investigation noted that while Microsoft products were involved, the company itself was not implicated of any wrongdoing.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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