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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8916
JPY
USD
121.32
GBP
USD
0.6487
CAD
USD
1.3252
INR
USD
66.401

Rates may not be current.