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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8769
    JPY
    USD
    107.28
    GBP
    USD
    0.6842
    CAD
    USD
    1.2528
    INR
    USD
    66.384

    Rates may not be current.