Wipro says employee charged with fraud committed suicide

Wipro has not handled the issue transparently, analysts said

A finance employee of Indian outsourcer Wipro committed suicide shortly after the company caught him in December for embezzling US$4 million from the company, a spokeswoman for the company said on Tuesday.

Wipro’s handling of the issue has come in for criticism from analysts, as the company did not disclose that the person was dead when it discussed the alleged fraud last week. "I wish Wipro had handled this with more transparency than it has done," said Sudin Apte, a principal analyst at Forrester Research.

Wipro said last week that it was conducting internal investigations into alleged fraud by an employee who had gained access to a colleague’s online password, and had embezzled funds for over a year. It would decide later whether to file charges in the case, the company spokeswoman said last week. The company had managed to recover about 50 percent of the embezzled amount, she said.

It is not unusual to have financial theft of the type mentioned by Wipro in any part of world, Apte said last week on the official Forrester blog, in response to questions from buyers of IT services.

That Wipro took over a year to detect the alleged fraud has however come in for criticism from analysts, including at Forrester.

Wipro prides itself on process integrity but its image, to some extent, is tarnished by this instance, especially as the fraud went on unnoticed for a long period, Apte said.

Wipro does not have a track record of similar fraud at the company and the case does not mean it has a porous system, Apte said. The fraud was detected in Wipro’s internal finance section and does not impact any client data or money, he added.

Apte however concluded that the fraud at Wipro was a gentle reminder of the importance of IT security, and that evaluating vendors’ security standards is a must.

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