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Oracle Hit With Whistleblower Lawsuit Over Cloud Accounting

June 1, 2016, 11:08 PM UTC
Oracle Reports Quarterly Earnings
REDWOOD SHORES, CA - MARCH 20: The Oracle logo is displayed at Oracle headquarters on March 20, 2012 in Redwood Shores, California. Oracle will report third quarter earnings today after the closing bell. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photograph by Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Oracle was sued on Wednesday by a former senior finance manager who claimed she was terminated in retaliation for complaining about improper accounting practices in its cloud services business.

Shares of Oracle (ORCL) fell about 2.6% to $39.23 in after-hours trading, after closing the regular session up 6 cents at $40.26.

In a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the plaintiff Svetlana Blackburn accused upper management of trying to push her to “fit square data into round holes” to make Oracle Cloud Services’ results look better.

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She said her bosses instructed her to add millions of dollars of accruals for expected business “with no concrete or foreseeable billing to support the numbers,” and that executives above her added accruals on their own.

Blackburn said Oracle terminated her employment last Oct. 15, just one month after the alleged wrongdoing began, and two months after she received a positive performance review.

Oracle, she said, had come to view her as “more of a roadblock than a team player who would blindly generate financial reports using improper bases in order to justify the bottom lines that her superiors demanded to see.”

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A spokeswoman for Redwood City, Calif.-based Oracle, Deborah Hellinger, said: “We don’t agree with the allegations and intend to vigorously defend the matter.”

V.J. Chetty, a lawyer for Blackburn, declined additional comment.

Blackburn’s lawsuit accused Oracle of violating the anti-retaliation provisions of the federal Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance and Dodd-Frank financial reform laws. It seeks punitive damages, double back pay, and other remedies.