HP Paying $108M To End Inquiry

NEW YORK (AP) -- Hewlett-Packard will pay the U.S. government $108 million to settle charges that former employees paid bribes to officials in Russia, Mexico and Poland.

The SEC says an HP division in Russia paid $2 million to make sure the company retained a contract with the federal prosecutor's office there. A Mexican subsidiary paid $1 million to secure a software sale to the country's state-owned oil company, while $600,000 in gifts and bribes were paid to a Polish government official to win contracts with the national police agency.

The SEC says each scheme lasted for years, and that HP's internal controls weren't strong enough to stop the illegal payments.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed criminal charges against the company, and the Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges. The settlement payments include fines and a return of the profits the company made from the deals. The payments will be made to the Justice Department, the SEC, and the Internal Revenue Service.

HP's general counsel, John Schultz, said the misconduct was limited to a small number of people who are no longer with the company.

Shares of Hewlett-Packard Co., which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., rose 14 cents to $32.59 in afternoon trading.

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