Apple Suspected of Attempting to Bribe Russian Regional Officials

Apple has organized a week-long seminar in the United Kingdom for Russian officials, including the regional ministers of education and other officials who are directly involved in public procurement. Although, the company could invest in marketing in Russia as well.

In addition to meeting with Apple representatives and eventually becoming familiar with the Cupertino company’s products (additional marketing in Russia could prove well for Apple), the Russian regional officials stood in the heart of London near the busiest shopping street.

The article, which did disclose the names of the Russian officials but did not mention its source, says the program seminar included visits to Apple Stores during non-working hours when no customers were present, alongside students visiting from various schools. The Russian officials apparently participated in classes.

What raised suspicion was the fact that the whole program is scheduled on the eve of major federal government payments for the modernization of equipment that is worth up to 2 billion rubles (roughly $66.5 million) per region, a payment program which is projected to launch in the near future.

The Russian news agency cites the leader of the inter-regional trade union, who believes the departure of senior officials to London right before the major government payments launch raises many questions.

Several Russian regional administrations were asked to comment on the situation, but they declined. Apple, on the other hand, explained that the company covers travel and accommodation costs only for the trainers, and the Russian officials were required to cover their own costs.

Yet Kirill Kabanov, a representative of the National Anti-Corruption Committee, said that the Russian officials’ trip to London is subject to police investigation regardless of who covered their travel and accommodation costs. If it was Apple that did so, then we are talking about commercial bribery, and in that scenario, there would be a potential for the matter to be brought before the US Justice Department, which would almost certainly apply sanctions.
Another pressing question: when will Apple ramp up its marketing in Russia?

[via: BrightWire]

Written by Istvan Fekete, edited by Mike Crook & Michael DeLisi