Oracle “whistleblower” Svetlana Blackburn has a fight on her hands. The database giant, which has never been one to shirk away from its legal battles, has come out with all guns blazing in response to allegations it cooked its cloud revenue numbers, announcing plans to counter-sue the ex-employee.
Oracle’s wrath stems from a lawsuit filed by Blackburn on Wednesday in the U.S. district court in San Francisco, which alleges she was dismissed from the firm after refusing to artificially inflate sales figures from its cloud division. Blackburn, who is a certified public accountant, also alleged that senior Oracle executives were padding the figures themselves.
Blackburn, who only worked at Oracle for eight months, says she received a positive performance review in August 2015, but claims that soon afterwards her bosses “charted a course that veered from legal, ethical and company standards,” the complaint reads. Blackburn was fired from Oracle on October 15 after continuing to “resist and warn of accounting improprieties”, she alleges.
But Oracle has angrily rejected Blackburn’s claims, and it looks like she’ll have a long and vicious fight on her hands if she’s to prove her case.
“We are confident that all our cloud accounting is proper and correct,” Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger said. “This former employee worked at Oracle for less than a year and did not work in the accounting group. She was terminated for poor performance and we intend to sue her for malicious prosecution.”
It seems Blackburn may have bitten off more than she can chew, for it’s not just Oracle’s lawyers who’re going to be closely scrutinizing her allegations. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) could well take an interest too, for news of Blackburn’s allegations wasn’t exactly well received by investors – the company’s shares took a battering this week, losing four percent and wiping out almost $6 billion from Oracle’s market capitalization.