German multinational SAP has strongly denied being involved in a kickback scandal with a Gupta-owned company. However, those linked to the deal could face criminal prosecution in Germany should authorities decide to investigate, Business Day reported on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, amaBhungane and Scorpio reported that the software giant had signed an agreement with a little-known company, ultimately owned by the Guptas, whereby the company would receive a 10% "commission" if it helped SAP score Transnet contracts.
The Gupta-owned company, CAD House, sells 3D printers. In terms of the agreement, if the company was the "effective cause" of SAP being awarded a Transnet contract of R100 million or more, it would be 10 percent.
CAD House reportedly received R99,9 million from SAP over the following year. SAP denied that this was a kickback agreement and said that CAD House had the "necessary skills in terms of positioning our solution".
On Wednesday, Business Day reported that the Guptas also had access to confidential financial contracts between SAP and state-owned companies it did business with in South Africa. This is according to leaked emails, the paper reported.
SAP could theoretically face prosecution by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which oversees securities traded on the New York Stock Exchange, if it is suspected that the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. A spokesperson declined to comment on the SAP allegations.
But a spokesperson from the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, Dominika Kula, told Business Day:
"As far as I understand the media coverage of the SAP, the allegations may constitute a bribe or unlawful acceptance of benefits. In Germany, the public prosecutor, as well as the police, are responsible for prosecuting criminal offences.
Meanwhile, SAP has strongly denied the allegations.
SAP Africa's MD Brett Parker said: "SAP is dedicated to conducting every aspect of our business responsibly and in accordance with the highest global compliance and legal standards."
But on Tuesday, amaBhungane's Susan Comrie told Eyewitness News that this response was surprising.
"We interviewed SAP's local officials about this. We interviewed both senior executives from SAP in South Africa. They admitted to paying this money and entering into a sale agreement with this company," she said.