Hewlett-Packard acknowledges corrupt activities in Poland
April 10, 2014
US computer giant Hewlett-Packard acknowledged that its Poland arm paid bribes to win public contracts in Poland, company’s officials said Wednesday.
“It's a breakthrough moment in Poland when a great international company acknowledges its corrupt activities in Poland," Polish Interior Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz told Polish public radio.
The HP case follows an investigation of bribe-related actions, in the years 2007-2010, at major information technology companies operating in Poland, the so-called “Infoafera”.
Poland's Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) launched an investigation of major information technology companies in Poland in 2011, uncovering alleged bribes paid in exchange for government computer contracts. The case centered around a former government official who was initially in charge of IT with the national police headquarters, and later became head of the IT Projects Center, a state agency at the Polish Interior Ministry. A total of 41 people from IT companies, government officials and former police officers were charged as part of the inquiry.
Polish prosecutors say that the Polish arm of HP allegedly paid bribes worth more than $500,000 to Polish government officials for help to win contracts for computer equipment supplies to the Polish police headquarters. The alleged corruption took place between the beginning of 2007 and the end of 2009.
"The corrupt activities were limited to a small number of people who are no longer employed by the company," John Schultz, executive vice president and general counsel for the company said in a statement.
Sienkiewicz said CBA had cooperated with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission on the issue.