Oracle Accuses Amazon Of Courting Former Employee Involved In A $10 Billion DOD Program

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Amazon made a highly lucrative job offer to a former employee while the man was leading a $10 billion winner-take-all cloud computing contract with the government, according to court documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Computing giant Oracle alleged in the May 31 complaint that former Department of Defense official Deap Ubhi was offered shares in Amazon and a salary with the big tech giant while he was finding a company to help build out the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract.

“AWS (during JEDI and with full knowledge made a hidden job offer to Ubhi, to include a massive [redacted] immediate signing bonus payment, a second [redacted] bonus payment after year one, [redacted} shares of Amazon stock (roughly $950-$960 per share in the relevant period), and a [redacted] salary,” the court document notes, referring to Amazon Web Services, one of the companies vying for the contract.

The document added: “AWS offered a former Amazon employee actively running DoD’s $10 billion JEDI procurement nearly [redacted] dollars in cash and stock during a live procurement, not to mention a substantial salary.” (RELATED: Trump’s Acting DOD Secretary Weighs In On A Cloud Contract Conservatives Loathe)

FILE PHOTO – Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks during an address to attendees at Access Intelligence’s SATELLITE 2017 conference in Washington, U.S., March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Picture

Ubhi never recused himself, according to the document. Instead, “he spent weeks as a DoD official, downloading the JEDI Google drive to his laptop, meeting with AWS competitors as a DoD official, requesting and participating cloud meetings … and obtaining submissions from JEDI competitors,” Oracle notes in its document.

The filing comes several months after Oracle file a similar lawsuit in December 2018 noting Ubhi’s past employment with Amazon, which stands to be one of two potential winners of JEDI, a cloud computing infrastructure for the U.S. military. Oracle’s lawsuit is an attempt to block the contract until further investigation.

Ubhi openly praised Amazon on Twitter while he was working with the DOD, media reports show. “Once an Amazonian, always an Amazonian. Proud today. Thank you, @JeffBezos,” Ubhi tweeted in January 2017, referencing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s opposition to President Donald Trump’s border wall.

The former DOD official left the government in late 2017. He now works with AWS.

Oracle and IBM have tried to overturn the single-award approach even. They argue that such a contract would force the Pentagon to pay billions of dollars to one company, while losing out on innovations from other companies down the supply chain. Conservatives have made similar arguments in the past.

“A contract of this magnitude should not be awarded as a sole source contract,” conservative groups wrote in a May 16 letter to Russell Vought, the acting director for the Office of Management and Budget. Citizens Against Government Waste and The American Conservative Union were among several groups that signed the letter.

It has become controversial among Republican lawmakers as well.

Reps. Steve Womack of Arkansas and Tom Cole of Oklahoma, for instance, requested a probe in October 2018 into the Pentagon’s handling of the deal. This came after TheDCNF reported that an adviser to former Secretary of Defense James Mattis once consulted for Amazon Web Services through her firm.

Both Amazon and DOJ refused to provide a comment to TheDCNF, citing ongoing litigation.

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