A Microsoft insider has come forward with an explosive story about how employees at the tech giant were engaging in a multimillion dollar bribery scheme. What’s more, blowing the whistle cost him his job.

On Friday, Yasser Elabd published an article on the whistleblower platform Lioness where he detailed what he said was widespread bribery through Microsoft's foreign contract business, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. Elabd, who said he has shared his findings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that the entire scheme could be worth more than $200 million in bribes and kickbacks.

In his post, Elabd said that he first identified the scheme through a strange $40,000 request to accelerate a deal in an unnamed African country, but the customer was not listed in the company's client database. He said he then brought his concerns to the architect behind the request to question why this request was not handled internally, only to be told that the partner's rate was "less expensive" for handling a pilot they were running at the time.

After thwarting that purchase, Elabd said that higher-ups in the company began to push back for terminating the deal. There was no investigation into his concerns while another manager allegedly told him not to be a "blocker".

"If any of the subsidiaries in the Middle East or Africa are doing something, you have to turn your head and leave it as is. If anything happens, they will pay the price, not you," the manager said, according to Elabd.

Microsoft executives began to push back harder after Elabd continued to raise the concern. After sending an email to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella about his treatment, a manager allegedly warned him that he “booked a one-way ticket out of Microsoft.” It is unclear if Nadella ever reacted to the concerns he raised, but it did not prevent Elabd from being fired in 2020 after learning of a wider bribery scheme in Saudi Arabia.

U.S. companies are forbidden from taking or making bribes under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), but it is estimated by the World Economic Forum that up to $1 trillion is lost to bribes annually.

A Microsoft executive said that these allegations were previously addressed by the company in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. But Elabd’s allegations follow years of previous investigations that found Microsoft had violated the FCPA or paid to settle investigations into other charges.

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