LMP to file criminal complaint for suspected graft in Microsoft case

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Green opposition party LMP has said it will file a criminal complaint for abuse of office and misappropriation of funds over what it suspects is corruption entailed in purchases by state institutions of IT products of U.S. software giant Microsoft.   

In December 2017, the BBJ reported about an in-depth investigation conducted by Microsoft headquarters at Microsoft Magyarország, examining contracts between the local unit and several institutions of Hungarian state administration worth billions of Hungarian forints over several years.

Microsoft Magyarország does not directly sell Microsoft products, but acts through intermediaries called Large Account Resellers (LARs), which also handle sales to government institutions. Gábor Vágó, a spokesman for LMP, said Microsoft Magyarország first sold its products to these intermediary companies at substantially discounted prices, after which those companies sold them to state institutions at their full prices or at even higher ones.

"While in Romania, ministers were taken away in handcuffs for the same thing, in Hungary, company leaders who were fired over this scandal have ended up at the Prime Ministerʼs Office," Vágó said, referring to the case of several former Romanian ministers who were given prison sentences last year for receiving significant bribes in exchange for overpriced software contracts and computer purchases.

In Hungary, Microsoft Magyarországʼs former manager responsible for government relations, Viktor Sagyibó, who left the company in early 2016, was appointed a government commissioner in late 2017 with wide responsibilities for all local and EU projects of the PMʼs Office - a post from which he was fired at the end of last week.

Less than a week after the appointment of Sagyibó to his government position, Microsoft Magyarország had unexpectedly terminated the contracts with three of its four LARs, telling online news portal 24.hu at the time that the company was looking for a "new direction" in its relationships with local partners.

While Vágó said he did not expect the office headed by Chief Prosecutor Péter Polt to "do much" about the case, he voiced hope that since the statute of limitations on corruption crimes is 12 years, an investigation into the matter will be possible in the future. He noted that the U.S. FBI has launched an investigation into the case.

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