Oracle Plans Countersuit Against Cloud Accounting Whistleblower

Oracle’s former senior finance manager is suing the company, alleging she was fired for threatening to blow the whistle on unlawful cloud accounting practices.

Svetlana Blackburn filed the whistleblower suit this week in U.S. District Court for Northern California. She alleges upper management was trying to push her “to fit square data into round holes, in an effort to bolster Oracle Cloud Services financial reports that would be paraded before company leadership as well as the investing public.” According to the suit, she was terminated in October 2015.

Blackburn said superiors instructed her to “add millions of dollars in accruals to financial reports, with no concrete or foreseeable billing to support the numbers, an act that (she) warned was improper and suspect accounting. She told her supervisor, ‘I will blow the whistle’ if ordered to proceed further in this fashion.”{ad}

The suit says Blackburn engaged in activity that is legally protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act by “reporting, resisting and refusing to engage in conduct that she reasonably believed violated or would violate the law and the act’s requirements.”

Deborah Hellinger, Oracle’s vice president of corporate communications, said the company is confident that “all our cloud accounting is proper and correct.”

“This former employee worked at Oracle for less than a year and did not work in the accounting group,” she said. “She was terminated for poor performance and we intend to sue her for malicious prosecution.”

According to the suit, Oracle acted with “oppression, fraud, malice and in conscious disregard” of Blackburn’s rights, and she is seeking punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial. She engaged in protected activity under Sarbanes-Oxley, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and California Labor Code section 1102.5, it said.

Oracle is facing other major legal issues. Hewlett Packard Enterprise is seeking $3 billion from the company for its decision to drop support for the Itanium chip. And last month, Oracle lost a court battle with Google over Google’s use of Java APIs.

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