Hewlett-Packard has admitted to creating and using slush funds for bribes, money laundering, and clandestine “bag of cash” handoffs in order to profiteer off of lucrative government contracts in Russia, Poland, and Mexico, according to court documents.
HP’s guilty plea carries with it a $108 million penalty — a combination of SEC penalties, as well as criminal fines and forfeitures paid out to the Department of Justice. Thus far no criminal charges have been brought against American HP executives. The multi-agency investigation, which was conducted by multi-national law enforcement partners, the FBI, IRS, and SEC, has revealed kleptocracies in the three foreign governments and corruption and dishonesty among HP corporate fat cats.
“This agreement is the result of untangling a global labyrinth of complex financial transactions used by HP to facilitate bribes to foreign officials,” said IRS-CI Chief Richard Weber.
HP has since fired the “small number” of corporate big shots who were involved in the plot, according to HP general counsel John Shultz, who noted that the company “cooperated fully” with the various investigating agencies — a fact corroborated by court documents. A Department of Justice spokeswoman called HP’s cooperation “extensive.”