UPDATE 6-HP pays $108 mln to settle foreign bribery probes

miércoles 9 de abril de 2014 16:43 GYT

(Adds details of allegations, quote from DOJ official)

By Adrian Krajewski and Aruna Viswanatha

WARSAW/WASHINGTON April 9 (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard agreed to pay $108 million to resolve wide-ranging U.S. government investigations into whether some of its foreign units bribed government officials to obtain lucrative contracts, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

HP's Russia subsidiary pleaded guilty to paying millions of dollars in bribes - some in the form of expensive watches and swimming pool technology - to win business with the federal prosecutor's office in Russia, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Polish and Mexican units of the computing giant also resolved U.S. criminal charges related to contracts they had won in those countries, and Polish prosecutors charged a local HP executive with paying related bribes.

The Securities and Exchange Commission entered into a related settlement with HP over allegations that its subsidiaries made improper payments to government officials.

Both U.S. agencies charged the company or its units with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a 1970s law that bars U.S. linked firms from paying bribes to officials of foreign governments.

"Hewlett-Packard subsidiaries created a slush fund for bribe payments ... 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 announcing the settlement.

In a statement, HP executive vice president and general counsel John Schultz said HP fully cooperated with the investigation.   Continuación...