HP can't catch a break. Weeks after the board ousted former CEO Mark Hurd and just days after the company settled False Claims Act and kickback charges with the U.S. Department of Justice for $55 million, the company discloses that government officials are also looking into allegations of bribery in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the investigation began with German officials looking into charges that a German subsidiary of HP paid bribes in Russia to win a $44.5 million contract with the Russian Federation prosecutor general's office. The United States joined the investigation and is asking for information on "certain governmental and quasi-governmental transactions" in and outside of Russia.
The Department of Justice declined to comment, the story says, and an HP spokesperson says only that the company is cooperating fully with investigators.
As I have mentioned previously, the Obama Administration has stepped up FCPA enforcement to curb bribes to foreign officials. As used in the act, "foreign official" has been interpreted to mean government officials as well as employees of government-sponsored companies.