HP Is Negotiating to Settle Bribery Charges
The company said it is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and by the SEC for allegations that some former and current employees paid millions of dollars to win an IT contract with a Russian government agency. The investigations center on a 35-million-euro deal between a former HP subsidiary in Germany and the Russian General Prosecutors Office, and cover a time period beginning in 2001 and ending in 2006. The deal called for the HP subsidiary to install a new IT network at the Russian agency. The disclosure came in HP’s annual 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
German authorities have indicted four people involved in the deal, including two former and one current HP employee, on charges of bribery, breach of trust and tax evasion. In the U.S., the DOJ has been investigating the deal under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In the filing, HP also said that U.S. regulators, as well as those in Mexico and Poland, are investigating other bribery allegations relating to deals with certain public sector agencies in those countries.
HP said in the filing that it is cooperating with all the agencies probing the Russian deal, and is in talks with U.S. authorities to resolve the matter. The investigations first surfaced in 2010.
It has been a tough couple of years for U.S. tech companies coping with bribery cases. Last year, Oracle paid $2 million to settle a case in India. And IBM ran into difficulties with a U.S. judge reviewing its proposed $10 million settlement with the SEC of bribery allegations surrounding dealings in China and South Korea. Earlier this year, authorities in the U.S. launched an investigation into alleged kickbacks by a Microsoft representative in China, and its relationship with resellers in Italy and Romania.