HP to Acknowledge Corrupt Activities
Polish prosecutors alleged today that a local executive with US firm Hewlett-Packard paid bribes worth over $500,000 in exchange for help winning contracts to supply computer equipment to the Polish police headquarters.
According to Poland’s interior minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz, HP would make an announcement to acknowledge that its Polish unit had been involved in “corrupt activities”.
The minister said Poland had cooperated on the investigation with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it illegal for U.S. companies to pay bribes to officials with foreign governments to win business. Firms found to have violated the act have in the past been ordered to pay multi-million-dollar settlements.
Zbigniew Jaskolski, a spokesman for the Appellate Prosecutors’ office in Warsaw, which handles major cases, said the official gave favorable treatment for firms, including HP, which were bidding for IT contracts with the police headquarters that were worth a total of $39.71 million. In exchange, the executive in HP’s Poland unit, who is no longer with the company, gave the official a payment of $529,500 as well as computer, audio and video equipment worth $36,400, Mr Jaskolski said.
The former HP executive also promised the same official a bribe worth $827,400 in exchange for including in the tender documents provisions which favored bidders designated by the executive, Mr Jaskolski said. Both the former executive and the former official have been charged with offences which carry prison sentences of between two and 12 years, he said.
[blockquote cite=”Mr Sienkiewicz, the Polish interior minister”]
The investigation showed there would be consequences if companies operating in Poland, eastern Europe’s biggest economy, did not respect the law.
In Warsaw, a spokesman for the Central Anti-Corruption bureau, Jacek Dobrzynski, said the bureau had launched an investigation of major IT companies in Poland in 2011. He said close to 70 charges had been brought against 41 people.