Fri, 09 June 2023
The Daily Ittefaq

Microsoft to pay $3.3M to resolve violations of US export controls, sanctions

Update : 10 Apr 2023, 09:02

US-based global tech firm Microsoft is imposed a total of $3.3 million in civil penalties for its alleged and apparent violations of US export controls and sanctions laws, Treasury and Commerce departments said Thursday in a joint statement.

Microsoft voluntarily self-disclosed the alleged violations to both the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), said the statement, reports Turkish state news agency Anadolu.

It added that the tech firm cooperated with the joint investigation conducted by BIS and OFAC, and took remedial measures after discovering the conduct at issue, which predated the export controls and sanctions imposed in connection with Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine.

While Microsoft's subsidiary Microsoft Rus LLC, or Microsoft Russia, was subject to a more than $600,000 administrative fine from BIS, the company also reached a settlement with OFAC and agreed to pay an almost $3 million civil penalty to resolve 1,339 violations of sanctions regulations involving Ukraine/Russia, Cuba, Iran, and Syria.

Microsoft was given a $276,000 credit by BIS, contingent upon Microsoft fulfilling its requirements under the OFAC settlement agreement, according to the statement.

"U.S. companies will be held accountable for the activities of their foreign subsidiaries," said Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod. "As this coordinated resolution demonstrates, BIS and OFAC will work together to ensure that U.S. export control and sanctions laws are enforced effectively, wherever in the world the underlying conduct occurs."

Employees of Microsoft Russia caused another Microsoft subsidiary to enter into or sell software licensing agreements that would allow the transfer or access to software on seven occasions between December 2016, and December 2017, said the Treasury.

OFAC Director Andrea Gacki said Microsoft's case underscores the risks technology companies may face when engaging through foreign subsidiaries, distributors, and resellers.

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