Great report on Cisco’s sanction-breaking & deals with the KGB in Russia. This is engagement in action.
The intent was to dodge sanctions and provide equipment to Vladimir Putin’s military and security services, a source says. Cisco strongly denies it violated sanctions or attempted to do so. A BuzzFeed News investigation.
After Western sanctions began shutting down sales of high-tech internet equipment to Russia’s military and security forces, employees at technology giant Cisco Systems Inc. altered sales records and booked deals under a false customer name, according to internal company documents. The intent, according to a confidential source with deep knowledge of Cisco’s Moscow operations, was to dodge the sanctions by masking the true customers behind more innocuous-sounding straw buyers.
In at least one case, the source said, Cisco employees succeeded in actually providing equipment — including sophisticated internet switches — to the feared FSB, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB.
Top officials at Cisco, one of America’s most prestigious and innovative companies, valued at more than $151 billion, vehemently denied the allegations. Cisco did not violate sanctions or attempt to do so, they said.
Cisco officials didn’t dispute the authenticity of the internal emails and spreadsheets obtained by BuzzFeed News. Instead, speaking on condition of anonymity in lengthy phone briefings, the Cisco officials acknowledged that the buyer name on some accounts was incorrect but said those were innocent and harmless errors. When records were changed, they said, the intent was only to be more accurate, not to conceal the real buyer.
In the case of the alleged FSB deal, officials said the equipment had not gone to the security service but to a civilian ministry. Cisco is “in complete compliance with the US and EU sanctions on Russia,” spokesperson Nigel Glennie said in a brief written statement.