Bribery probe widens over HP contract in Russia

By Reuters
Posted Sep. 10, 2010 at 2:19 p.m.

A bribery investigation into a Hewlett-Packard Co. government contract in Russia has broadened to include more deals dating back to 2000.

In a statement Friday, HP said it is cooperating with authorities, “who have now expanded their investigations beyond” a transaction with the Russian prosecutor’s office.In April, it emerged that U.S. and German authorities were investigating whether HP employees in a German subsidiary had engaged in a bribery scheme involving a 35 million euro ($44.5 million) contract to provide IT equipment to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation.

The contract ran from 2001 to 2006.

Russian authorities in April raided HP’s Moscow offices at the behest of German prosecutors.

The U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission have been probing the Russia deal and possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In a regulatory filing on Thursday, HP disclosed that U.S. authorities had also recently asked for information from HP relating to “governmental and quasi-governmental transactions” in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States region dating to 2000.

In addition, HP said in its regulatory filing that German prosecutors had recently requested information on several “non-public sector transactions” entered into by HP on or around 2006, involving at least one person also involved in the Russia prosecutor’s office contract.

Shares of Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP fell 1.5 percent to $38.22 on the New York Stock Exchange late Friday afternoon.

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