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US federal agencies are investigating whether Oracle violated federal anti-bribery laws in dealings abroad, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

US federal agencies are investigating whether Oracle violated federal anti-bribery laws in dealings abroad, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Agents in the Washington field office of the FBI and fraud prosecutors in the Justice Department's Criminal Division have been conducting a criminal investigation for at least a year, the newspaper said, citing the unnamed sources. Attorneys at the Securities and Exchange Commission are also investigating for possible civil violations, these people are reported to have said.

The agencies are examining whether Oracle employees or agents acting on the company's behalf made improper payments in Africa in order to land sales of database and applications software, the newspaper reported.

Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger declined to comment.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 makes it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. The FBI and the Justice Department could not be reached for comment.