News / Economy

Former Hewlett-Packard Exec Charged with Bribery in Poland

FILE - A Hewlett-Packard logo is seen at the company's Executive Briefing Center in Palo Alto, California.
FILE - A Hewlett-Packard logo is seen at the company's Executive Briefing Center in Palo Alto, California.
Reuters
Polish prosecutors alleged on Wednesday that a local executive with U.S. firm Hewlett-Packard Co. paid bribes worth over $500,000 in exchange for help winning contracts to supply computer equipment to the Polish police headquarters.
 
Poland's Interior Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz said HP would make an announcement later on Wednesday acknowledging its Polish unit had been involved in “corrupt activities”.
 
The U.S. computing giant has been the target of a wide-ranging investigation into allegations of bribery and other misconduct in countries from Russia to Poland. On Wednesday, HP said it will pay $108 million and assume certain unspecified disclosure and compliance obligations to settle the probe.
 
It did not confirm or comment, however, on the specifics of its conduct in Poland, East Europe's largest economy.
 
Polish officials said dozens of people had been charged as part of an industry-wide investigation of corruption dating from 2007 to 2009, among them representatives of major information technology (IT) companies, government officials and former police officers.
 
The minister said Poland had cooperated on the investigation with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
 
The U.S. 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.
 
Polish prosecutors said their 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.
 
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, Jaskolski said.
 
The Appellate Prosecutors' office named the former government official as Andrzej M., and the former HP executive as Tomasz Z., without giving their full last names in accordance with the Polish law.
 
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, Jaskolski said.
 
Both the former executive and the former official have been charged with offenses which carry prison sentences of between two and 12 years, he said.
 
‘Breakthrough moment’
 
Reuters was not immediately able to reach either of the two, or their legal representatives. Reuters sent a message via social media to someone with the same name as the IT Projects Center's ex-official, but there was no immediate response.
 
Sienkiewicz, the Polish Interior Minister, said the investigation showed there would be consequences if companies operating in Poland did not respect the law.
 
“It's a breakthrough moment in Poland when a great international company acknowledges its corrupt activities in Poland,” Sienkiewicz told Polish public radio.
 
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.
 
The prosecution spokesman, Jaskolski, said the investigation was still in progress and that prosecutors had not yet applied to a court to begin prosecutions in the case.
 
He said the former HP executive and the former government official had been detained early in the investigation, but had since been released on a bond.
 
The alleged corruption took place between the beginning of 2007 and the end of 2009, Jaskolski said.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8957
JPY
USD
120.93
GBP
USD
0.6393
CAD
USD
1.2199
INR
USD
63.470

Rates may not be current.