Report: DOJ joins HP bribery investigation

The Department of Justice joins the SEC and German and Russian authorities investigating whether the company paid $10.9 million to win a computer equipment contract in Russia.

The Department of Justice has requested Hewlett-Packard turn over company documents connected to an ongoing investigation by the German government into charges of bribery, according to a report published Friday.

The Wall Street Journal cites unnamed sources that say the Justice Department has asked HP for company records, but has not subpoenaed them yet.

A Department of Justice spokeswoman declined to comment on the report. An HP spokeswoman said, "HP is and has been fully cooperating with all authorities on this matter."

Reports surfaced in April that German prosecutors were investigating whether the computing giant paid $10.9 million in an attempt to win a contract to provide a sophisticated computer system to the Russian prosecutor general's office. Russian officials reportedly raided HP's offices in Russia at the request of German investigators. Specifically, they were looking for evidence that HP used a series of shell companies in a variety of countries--Britain, Austria, Switzerland, the British Virgin Islands, Belize, New Zealand, Latvia, Lithuania, and the U.S.--to create a fund that paid the Russian prosecutor's office.

Three former HP employees were arrested in connection with the bribery scheme, which German prosecutors have been looking into since December.

Before the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission also got involved in April to investigate whether HP had violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Updated at 10:33 a.m. with comment from HP.

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.

 

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