HP Bribery Probe: Justice Department Asks for Internal Documents


The Justice Department, which has been investigating bribes Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) allegedly paid in Russia, has asked the company to voluntarily turn over internal records, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. HP said it is cooperating with U.S. and German authorities, which are also investigating the allegations, according to the Associated Press. But it has yet to provide some records, WSJ sources say.

Company executives allegedly paid bribes totaling 8 million euros (about $10.3 million) to win a 35 million euro contract to supply computers, software and hardware to the Russian prosecutors' office. HP is being investigated in Germany, the U.S. and Russia, which has raided HP's Moscow offices in April at the request of German prosecutors.

AP also reported that three executives were arrested in Germany and Switzerland in December and later freed on bail.

HP is apparently also under investigation by the Justice Department and Security and Exchange Commission for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which outlaws bribes to foreign officials.

HP Board Sued Over Handling of Hurd's Exit

Meanwhile, the WSJ also reports that HP has been sued over former CEO Mark Hurd's sudden departure, alleging directors violated their fiduciary duties. Hurd abruptly resigned following an investigation into sexual harassment claims.

The suit alleges that HP's board, which has many members picked by Hurd, "violated its corporate-governance guidelines by failing to inform shareholders of the investigation," the WSJ reports. It also attacks Hurd's exit package, which is estimated at above $35 million, and seeks to reclaim the severance he received as well as to force the board's members to reimburse HP for any damages their actions caused.

HP is no stranger to scandals. The infamous affair in 2006 when the company spied on some board members and reporters put it in the spotlight. Now, the company can't seem to escape those headlines again.