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msftMicrosoft is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission over the company’s relationship with business partners accused of bribing foreign government officials to win software contracts, according to a Wall Street Journal report today.

The Journal describes the investigation as preliminary and notes that Microsoft hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing related to the activities in China, Romania and Italy.

John Frank, Microsoft vice president and deputy general counsel, addresses the report in a blog post today. He writes, in part …

As our company has grown and expanded around the world, one of the things that has been constant has been our commitment to the highest legal and ethical standards wherever we do business. …

In a company of our size, allegations of this nature will be made from time to time. It is also possible there will sometimes be individual employees or business partners who violate our policies and break the law. In a community of 98,000 people and 640,000 partners, it isn’t possible to say there will never be wrongdoing. Our responsibility is to take steps to train our employees, and to build systems to prevent and detect violations, and when we receive allegations, to investigate them fully and take appropriate action. We take that responsibility seriously.

The investigation, under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, is one of many involving U.S. companies. The Journal notes that Microsoft’s own internal investigation, which concluded in 2010, found no evidence of wrongdoing in the China case.

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