SoftBank Denies Allegations Of Investment Bribes In India

May 19, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank Group denied allegations that some of its existing and former executives received bribes related to the company’s investment initiatives, particularly those aimed at India. The Tokyo, Japan-based conglomerate recently revealed it lost $1.4 billion on investments in Indian startups, and many of its deals in the South Asian country came under scrutiny since then. The recent set of accusations was laid out by a legal firm that’s said to be representing a number of the firm’s investors, as well as shareholders of its subsidiary Sprint that are reportedly unhappy about SoftBank’s investment-related activities. The identities of the shareholders that are looking to drive SoftBank’s purported transgressions into the public spotlight is currently unknown and their motivations aren’t clear. The Japanese tech giant labeled the allegations as smearing attempts and promptly dismissed them.

Authorities in India received a complaint against SoftBank in March, according to which the company’s executives received kickbacks related to the firm’s local investments, recent reports indicate. An update on the situation in the South Asian country hasn’t followed since then and it’s yet to be revealed whether Indian officials have conducted or are still conducting an investigation into SoftBank’s dealings based on the complaint. The Japanese telecom giant is currently aiming to identify the individual or group disseminating what it deems are entirely false allegations against the company and its first step in doing so was filing a criminal complaint with authorities in Switzerland, the country in which representatives of its alleged shareholders who are spreading the accusations are based in. The same group is also claiming that SoftBank is guilty of conflicts of interest related to certain consulting arrangements.

One private investigator from Switzerland previously sent a public letter to the company asking it to disclose alleged transgressions committed by Alok Sama, the President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of SoftBank Group International. SoftBank denied those accusations and filed a defamation complaint against the investigator, The Wall Street Journal reports. Sama himself later referred to the allegations as “corporate terrorism,” adding that they surely aren’t originating from the company’s shareholders. SoftBank is currently preparing to start investing $100 billion into tech startups around the globe and is also reportedly considering the acquisition of T-Mobile US in an effort to merge it with Sprint.