The US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have launched a probe into Microsoft over potential bribery and corruption related to software sales in Hungary, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

The probe is looking into how the US company sold its software to middleman firms in Hungary that then sold those products to government agencies in 2013-14, according to the report.

Hungary chose Microsoft over free software providers in a public procurement tender in 2013 worth tens of billions of forints.

Authorities suspect that Microsoft may have sold some of its products to the intermediaries at steep discounts, and then the firms sold the products to the Hungarian government at close to full price or even higher.

Investigators are probing whether the middleman companies used the difference to pay bribes and kickbacks to government officials.