U.S. Joins Bribery Probe of H-P Executives

The U.S. has joined German and Russian authorities in investigating whether Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) executives paid millions of dollars in bribes to Russian officials to win a contract in Russia, according to people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department are investigating whether H-P committed any violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, these people said, as part of a widening probe into the company’s activities. The SEC investigates civil violations of the FCPA, while the Justice Department has jurisdiction over criminal components of the U.S. law. The law bars American companies from bribing foreign government officials anywhere in the world.

A spokeswoman for H-P said the company had discussions Thursday with the SEC regarding the German investigation “and is fully cooperating with U.S. and German authorities on this matter.”

German prosecutors have centered their investigation of the suspected bribes on one current and two former senior executives of the U.S. computer maker, according to German court records and people familiar with the probe.

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