updated 05:15 pm EST, Thu December 16, 2010
HP accused of bribery in Europe as well as Russia
Investigations into HP bribery for government contracts have expanded into Europe, HP revealed in an SEC filing (PDF late Wednesday. Both the SEC and the Department of Justice were looking into allegations that it paid kickbacks not just to Russia but also Austria, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Germany, the Netherlands and Serbia. Two "former HP executives" were involved as far back as 2000, HP said, one of which was known to be HP's sales head in Russia.
The PC builder said through a spokesperson that it was cooperating with authorities investigating the newly expanded cases.
HP had originally been accused of paying the equivalent of $10.9 million in bribes to the chief prosecutor's office in Moscow to guarantee a government PC contract that itself was worth $44.5 million. A German subsidiary allegedly used elaborate methods to hide its tracks, including fake bank accounts worldwide.
The widened scope calls into question an increasing number of HP's business deals in Europe from the past decade and suggests that some of its important advances in share may have come through questionable deals.