Former SAP regional director admitted giving bribe

A former regional director of the German software giants SAP admitted to bribing Panamanian officials to secure the award of government technology contracts for his company.

Vicente Eduardo Garcia, 65, of Miami, pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA, the Department of Justice wrote in a report last week.

The Channel says he gave $145,000 (£92,000) in bribes to one government official and promised bribes to two more to ensure that the local social security agency bought a technology package worth $14.5m from an SAP reseller – a contract worth $2.1m (£1.34m) in software licenses to the German firm.

“According to Garcia’s admissions, the conspirators used sham contracts and false invoices to disguise the true nature of the bribes”, the Department of Justice says.

“Garcia further admitted that he believed paying such bribes was necessary to secure both the initial contract and additional Panamanian government contracts.”

Garcia, a former VP of global and strategic accounts for SAP, admitted to setting up a slush fund by selling SAP software at an 82 per cent discount to a reseller in Panama between 2009 and 2013, which the reseller would then sell at "significantly higher prices" to the Panamanian government. The spare cash went to bribes, and Garcia also took a cut.

Garcia has settled out of court with the Securities and Exchange Commission, agreeing to pay back the $85,965 (£54,917) he took (plus interest of £4,109). He has also pleaded guilty to similar charges from the Department of Justice and will be sentenced in December.