Poland joins anti-corruption probe against HP

The company is already being investigated by the U.S. among other countries

The Polish Central Anti-Corruption Bureau and U.S. agencies are investigating potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by an employee of an indirect subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard in Poland, the company said in a filing Monday.

The Polish agency along with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating the employee of Hewlett-Packard Polska in connection with certain public sector transactions in Poland, HP said.

The investigation is in addition to probes by the DOJ and SEC into certain other public-sector transactions in Russia, Poland, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Mexico, among other countries, HP said.

HP said it is cooperating with the investigating agencies.

The German Public Prosecutor's Office is also investigating allegations that current and former employees of HP engaged in bribery, embezzlement and tax evasion relating to a transaction between Hewlett- Packard ISE in Germany, a former subsidiary of HP, and the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation.

The German PPO has issued an indictment of four persons, including one current and two former HP employees, on charges including bribery, breach of trust and tax evasion, and has also asked that HP be made an associated party to the case, HP said in the filing. The €35 million (US$46 million) transaction, which spanned from 2001 to 2006, was for the delivery and installation of an IT network. The DOJ and SEC are also investigating the Russian deal for potential FCPA violations.

The FCPA makes it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business.

"In many foreign countries, particularly in those with developing economies, it is common to engage in business practices that are prohibited by laws and regulations applicable to us, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act," HP said in the filing. Other technology companies including IBM and Oracle have reported similar cases involving potential FCPA violations.

HP could not be immediately reached for comment.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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