COMPUTER MAKER HP has had to put its hand in its pocket again after reaching a $108m settlement over bribery and corruption charges.
US government officials investigated the number two ranked information technology company for bribing foreign government officials in order to secure juicy contracts.
Subsidiaries in Russia, Poland and Mexico all admitted violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which states that US firms cannot pay bribes to foreign government officials.
Reuters reports that Russian HP executives set aside a so-called "slush fund" by buying its own products back at inflated prices. The profits from this were then used to fund bribes, including watches, furniture and appliances.
Meanwhile, in Poland actual bags of cash changed hands, to the tune of $600,000.
In a statement today, John Schultz, HP EVP and general counsel, said, "The misconduct described in the settlement was limited to a small number of people who are no longer employed by the company.
"HP fully cooperated with both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission in the investigation of these matters and will continue to provide customers around the world with top quality products and services without interruption.”
The company admitted to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it paid $108m in bribes.
This is HP's second payout in a fortnight after it settled a class action lawsuit from former Palm shareholders upset at the company's treatment of WebOS. That settlement cost the company $57m. µ