Since the adoption of the 1998 amendments to the FCPA, employees of “public international organization[s],” such as the World Bank (the “Bank”), have been included within the definition of “foreign officials.” Historically, it has not been difficult for US authorities, and others, to identify companies and individuals involved in corrupt conduct in connection with Bankfinanced projects as the Bank published the names of the debarred parties on its Department of Institutional Integrity website. Yet until recently, the Bank did not disclose the names of those companies that it had debarred from receiving direct contracts from the Bank under its corporate procurement program. On January 11, 2009, however, the Bank changed its policy. Citing the “interest of transparency and fairness,” and the need to align its disclosure practices, the Bank agreed to publish, and published, the names of the companies that have been debarred under the corporate procurement program.26 Three Indian outsourcing companies, Satyam Computer Services Limited (“Satyam”), Wipro Technologies (“Wipro”), and Megasoft Consultants Limited (“Megasoft”), were listed by the Bank, and a review of the reasons for debarment suggests that, depending upon venue considerations, FCPA investigations and prosecutions involving these companies may follow.27 Both Satyam and Wipro were debarred for providing improper benefits to Bank staff, and Megasoft for participating in a joint venture with Bank staff while also conducting business with the Bank. According to the Bank, each of Wipro and Megasoft, in June 2007 and December 2007, respectively, was debarred for four years.28 Effective September 2008, Satyam was debarred for eight years.29

Interestingly, even prior to January 2009, the Bank had begun to retreat from its policy of non-disclosure in the corporate procurement area. On December 23, 2008, “to correct erroneous press reports,” the Bank issued a press release disclosing that in February 2008, it had temporarily, and then, in September 2008, effectively, barred Satyam, the largest software vendor to the Bank,30 from receiving direct contracts from the Bank.31 According to the press release, the debarment was a result, in part, of improper benefits having been given by Satyam to Bank staff. Media accounts had attributed the debarment to the installation of spy software on Bank computers.32 Separate from its debarment imposed by the Bank, Satyam is now at the center of what is reportedly one of the largest frauds in India’s corporate history after its founder and Chief Executive Officer, B. Ramalinga Raju, announced in January 2009 that the company had been falsifying its accounts for years, overstating revenues and inflating profits by over $1 billion.33

Following disclosure by the World Bank, Satyam sought a public apology from the Bank due to the “inaccuracy and inappropriateness of the [Bank’s] public statements.”34 Wipro issued a statement on January 12, 2009, in which it admitted that it had given preferential stock to both a former Bank chief information officer and another senior staffer as part of an “SECapproved program.”35