updated 03:39 pm EDT, Wed April 9, 2014
Bribery by HP execs alleged in cases in Mexico, Russia, Poland
HP will dole out $108 million to settle claims by the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging bribery and other crimes. The complaints centered around the company's business practices in Poland, Russia, and Mexico, alleging that HP paid out over $500,000 in exchange for assistance winning contracts to supply governments with computer hardware and services.
"Hewlett-Packard subsidiaries created a slush fund for bribe payments, set up an intricate web of shell companies and bank accounts to launder money, employed two sets of books to track bribe recipients, and used anonymous email accounts and prepaid mobile telephones to arrange covert meetings to hand over bags of cash," Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce Swartz said in a statement about the settlement.
HP's Russian division will plead guilty to felony violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Prosecutors deferred prosecution of the company's Polish unit, and signed a non-prosecution agreement with HP's Mexico division.
John Schultz, HP's executive vice president and general counsel said in a statement on Wednesday that "the misconduct described in the settlement was limited to a small number of people who are no longer employed by the company. HP fully cooperated with both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission in the investigation of these matters, and will continue to provide customers around the world with top quality products and services without interruption."