Accenture is to pay £40m to settle a case involving kickbacks and the US government
IT integration and consulting firm Accenture on 12 September agreed to pay a fine of $63.7 million (£40m) to settle a US Department of Justice lawsuit charging that it accepted kickbacks from IT companies in exchange for good recommendations to federal agencies looking for new technology.
The DOJ, which has been on the warpath with several IT companies for five years on cases of this nature, stated in court documents that as a result of these kickbacks, Accenture caused a high number of false claims to be submitted during the procurement process for IT contracts with US government agencies.
Accenture, a longtime US government contractor, advises federal agencies on how to acquire IT hardware, software and services. It also contracts with selected technology companies to provide integrated solutions for specific IT projects for the federal government.
Specifically, the DOJ said in court documents that Accenture received improper payments and rebates through partnerships it had established with a list of companies. Three of the more prominent ones on that list included IBM, data storage and protection provider EMC, and Sun Microsystems, which was acquired by Oracle in January 2010.
In August 2010, Hewlett-Packard agreed to pay $50 million to settle a similar lawsuit filed by the DOJ. Whistleblower lawsuits, filed by officials with Accenture and PricewaterhouseCoopers, initially were filed in 2004 against Accenture, HP and Sun Microsystems for allegedly soliciting payments or making those payments for governmental technology contracts.
The DOJ joined the whistleblower lawsuits with its own court action in 2007.