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DoJ demands HP docs in bribery probe

Inkgate? Can we call it Inkgate?

The Department of Justice is demanding HP hands over a pile of documents related to its Russian business as part of a bribery investigation in Germany.

German corruption investigators are probing allegations that the ink giant paid bribes to secure a contract with the Russian Prosecutor General's office.

It is alleged that an €8m bribe was paid, via three German subsidiaries, in order to secure the €35m contract for a communications network. German investigators have shown the DoJ some of their evidence, leading the DoJ to make the informal request to HP.

The DoJ is requesting HP hands over a "trove of internal records" to help it pursue what is now an international investigation spanning the US, Germany and Russia, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Sources told the paper that the DoJ request was voluntary and it had not yet subpoenaed the company.

An HP spokesman said “HP is and has been fully cooperating with all authorities on this matter.”

It has previously said the investigation relates to people who have now largely left the firm.

German authorities issued arrest warrants for three people at the end of last year in connection with the probe. All have now been released on bail.

Depending on the outcome of German detective work HP could also find itself under investigation in the US for breaches of SEC rules on corporate good governance.

HP's Moscow headquarters were raided back in April by Russian investigators acting on German information.

Earlier this month HP paid a large sum to end another DoJ investigation into allegations the company had overcharged for government contracts and paid kickbacks for favourable treatment. HP paid up but did not admit any wrongdoing. ®

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