Microsoft, US reaches $3 million settlement for over 1,300 export restriction violations

The United States and Microsoft on Thursday reached an agreement on the tech company’s apparent violations of sanctions and export controls, which it has voluntarily disclosed, the government and the company said.

Microsoft has agreed to remit approximately US$3 million (approximately Rs.2.4 billion) to meet its potential civil liability for more than 1,300 apparent sanctions violations related to restrictions on Cuba, Iran, Syria and Russia related to the Export of services or software from the US to sanctioned jurisdictions, the US Treasury Department said in a statement.

The Treasury Department added that Microsoft’s conduct was “not egregious and voluntarily self-disclosed.”

Much of the breaches that took place between 2012 and 2019 involved blocked Russian companies or individuals in Ukraine’s Crimea region and were a result of Microsoft’s failure to identify and prevent use of its products by banned parties, the Treasury Department said.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 before launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in early 2022.

In a statement emailed to Reuters, Microsoft acknowledged failure to comply with the sanctions and said it had cooperated with the investigation and was satisfied with the settlement.

“Microsoft takes export control and sanctions compliance very seriously, which is why, after learning of some employees’ verification errors and violations, we voluntarily disclosed them to the relevant authorities,” a company spokesman said.

Root causes of sanctions violations included a lack of complete or accurate information about the identity of end customers for Microsoft products, the Treasury Department said, adding that there were flaws in Microsoft’s verification of restricted parties.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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