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Hewlett-Packard is focus of bribery investigation

The computer and printer company is suspected of making payoffs in exchange for business in Moscow.

April 16, 2010|By David Sarno

Federal regulators are looking into whether Hewlett-Packard Co. employees bribed foreign officials in exchange for business abroad, HP confirmed Thursday.

The Palo Alto-based computer giant said it was cooperating with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other law enforcement officials investigating the matter in Germany and Russia.

The company's comments came in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report that HP's Moscow offices had been searched as part of the bribery investigation.

A statement from HP said that the investigation was focused on "alleged conduct that occurred almost seven years ago, largely by employees no longer with HP."

According to a spokesman for prosecutors in Dresden, Germany, HP executives allegedly made payments to win a contract to provide hardware to a law enforcement agency in Moscow.

"The suspicion is that 8 million euros in kickback payments were made," the spokesman told Reuters news agency.

Marc Fagel, the director of the SEC's San Francisco office, declined to comment.

HP's stock fell 29 cents to $54.23 and continued to decline slightly in after-hours trading.

david.sarno@latimes.com

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