HP to Pay $108M for Bribing Foreign Customers for Contracts

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HP will pay $108 million to settle a federal investigation over bribes some of the IT company's foreign units paid to get contracts.

The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday said HP's Russia subsidiary pleaded guilty to the charges, admitting to paying millions of dollars in bribes, some of which came in the form of top-shelf watches and swimming pool technology. The aim was to win a deal with the federal prosecutor's office in Russia.

But there were also bribery charges related to sales in Poland and Mexico. 

"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, according to Reuters.

HP told Reuters the company cooperated with authorities and that the "misconduct described in the settlement was limited to a small number of people who are no longer employed by the company."

The bribery dates back to 1999 and lasted up till 2010, government prosecutors said.

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