US fines HP $108 mn for bribery in Russia, Poland, Mexico

US fines HP
San Francisco, Sep 12: US authorities have ordered information technology giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) to pay a fine of $108 million after finding the company guilty of paying bribes through its subsidiaries in Russia, Poland and Mexico.

The Justice Department in a statement on Thursday said that the HP subsidiary in Russia had admitted to a judge of the Northern District of California of having violated several provisions of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by creating a hidden fund that was used to bribe Russian government officials.

In exchange, HP won a contract worth millions of dollars from the Russian government.

The company lawyers pointed out that the conduct was limited to a small group of employees in HP Russia who no longer work for the company.

The case, for which the Palo Alto, California-based company must pay $58.7 million, was part of a larger agreement between HP and the Justice Department in April involving similar practices in Poland and Mexico.

HP's total amount payable to the government for these crimes in the three countries amounts to $108 million.

In the case of Mexico, the HP subsidiary admitted to having bribed officials of Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil company, while HP Poland bribed national police authorities.

"IT companies, like all companies, should compete on a level field of play and not resort to secret books and false transactions to hide millions of dollars in bribes," federal prosecutor Marshall Miller said.

"Today's verdict is an important step in our effort to condemn those who are corrupt in the international market," he added.


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