Lawyers, Guns, & Money: H-P's Bribery Scandal

Gotta love the "H-P Way." The company has just disclosed that the SEC is investigating it for paying bribes in Russia and other exotic locales. But, the H-P executives carrying the suitcases full of cash no doubt filled out all of their expense reports properly!

Hewlett-Packard Co. disclosed Thursday that a probe by the U.S. Department

of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission of possible bribes the

company paid in Russia is now wider than previously reported.

The disclosure, in an SEC filing, pertains to a long-running German investigation of

allegations that H-P, through a German subsidiary, paid bribes in Russia to secure a

contract valued at €35 million, or about $44.5 million, with the office of the

prosecutor general of the Russian Federation.

The contract spanned 2001 to 2006 and was for the delivery and installation of an

information technology network.

U.S. authorities have joined in that probe, as The Wall Street Journal first reported

in August.

Thursday's filing says U.S. authorities recently requested information about "certain

governmental and quasi-governmental transactions in Russia and in the

Commonwealth of Independent States subregion dating back to 2000." The wording

of the filing suggests a broader probe than previously revealed.

An H-P spokeswoman said investigators were focused "primarily" on the contract

with the Russian prosecutor's office but that they have "now expanded their

investigations beyond that particular transaction."

She said H-P "has been fully cooperating with the investigating authorities."

H-P strikes me as being very similar to those politicians who proclaim they are going to "drain the swamp" and run "the most ethical administration ever" - and then preside over worse corruption than before. Their focus is always on whether the right form has been filled out, and whether this guy or that guy has been chatting up this or that blonde. They never seem to focus on whether or not bribing foreign officials is the right thing to do. I won't even mention what I think about my crappy H-P printer.

The bribery allegations date from 2001 - 2006, btw, in case any of you are out there thinking Carly Fiorina was the best possible candidate for Senate. You may also recall that it came up in one of the GOP debates that Fiorina's H-P had used a subsidiary to sell printer ink in Iran. Think we'll be hearing more about this?

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