Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Crime Government HP The Almighty Buck

Hewlett-Packard Admits To International Bribery and Money Laundering Schemes 139

Posted by samzenpus
from the was-that-wrong? dept.
First time accepted submitter CP (1315157) writes "Hewlett-Packard has admitted to [bribery and money laundering] in order to profiteer off of lucrative government contracts in Russia, Poland, and Mexico, according to court documents. HP's guilty plea carries with it a $108 million penalty — a combination of SEC penalties, as well as criminal fines and forfeitures paid out to the Department of Justice. Thus far no criminal charges have been brought against American HP executives. The multi-agency investigation, which was conducted by multi-national law enforcement partners, the FBI, IRS, and SEC, has revealed kleptocracies in the three foreign governments and corruption and dishonesty among HP corporate fat cats."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Hewlett-Packard Admits To International Bribery and Money Laundering Schemes

Comments Filter:
  • by msobkow (48369) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:11AM (#46712581) Homepage Journal

    Corporations are not people. They don't make decisions. Executives make decisions.

    Lock the bastards up.

    • by alphatel (1450715) *

      Corporations are not people. They don't make decisions. Executives make decisions.

      Lock the bastards up.

      Hate to put it this way but considering the way HP has been failing so badly the past 5 years... saw it coming

      • by BurfCurse (937117) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:41AM (#46712725)
        Most of this happened longer than 5 years ago under different leadership. HP is still suffering from the mistakes of the past. HP was financially successful then but at a cost. This is the way people like Mark Hurd do business. Its all about short term gains. Being told your pay was being cut because of difficult times and it was necessary in order to survive, only to find out that 6 months later HP had record profits. That's why all the top performer's no longer work there.
        • by alphatel (1450715) *

          Most of this happened longer than 5 years ago under different leadership. HP is still suffering from the mistakes of the past. HP was financially successful then but at a cost. This is the way people like Mark Hurd do business. Its all about short term gains. Being told your pay was being cut because of difficult times and it was necessary in order to survive, only to find out that 6 months later HP had record profits. That's why all the top performer's no longer work there.

          So again, saw it coming

        • by meta-monkey (321000) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @10:05AM (#46713621) Journal

          Then find the people responsible for the laundering and bribery five years ago and put them in jail.

          Never happens, though. Two-tiered justice system. If you're rich, you get fined instead of going to jail. Just gotta make sure the government gets its beak wet. If you're poor, lock 'em up and throw away the key.

          • You got that right. The amounts hardly matter. A case where the bribes ran well into the hundreds of millions was simply dismissed altogether in the UK (because it would inconvenience the Saudis, who threatened to take their business elsewhere when pressed on this issue) and ended with a slap on the wrist (relative to the sheer scale of the crimes) in the US.

            source [wikipedia.org].

          • by cusco (717999)

            $108 million in fines for HP, but when Halliburton was caught handing out over $100 million to Nigerian officials while Cheney was CEO there wasn't even an investigation in the US (and I think the suit in France eventually evaporated while he was VP).

            Really, this is not likely to change the way HP or anyone else of that size do business. First, it is very unlikely that the fines amount to more than the profit generated by those sales. More importantly, the fines come long after the people involved have

        • by savuporo (658486)

          GM is coming up with the same excuses. Nobody is accountable because the corporation went through bankruptcy. 13 people dead and many injured, and they are telling people to make their keychains lighter.

          Long time ago, different leadership, company cannot be held accountable, blah blah.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by Joe_Dragon (2206452)

      In federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Agree,

      It wasn't the shareholders that did the bribing. Yet they're the ones that are going to be penalized. Everyone with a401(k) is essentially bribing the US government with the settlement to keep these executives from going to jail.

      • by tomhath (637240)

        It wasn't the shareholders that did the bribing. Yet they're the ones that are going to be penalized.

        In the end the shareholders might come out ahead, depending on how much HP "profiteered" in the first place.

    • by MathFox (686808) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:27AM (#46712661)

      Executives make decisions.
      Lock the bastards up.

      Most likely one of the conditions of the settlement is that the executives are not prosecuted for their transgressions.

      And the executives will have the fine paid from the corporate funds... business as usual.

      • If they didn't bribe in Russia, they'd get punished for failing to act in the best interest of the company's shareholders (which includes making business in Russia) instead. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
        • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:40AM (#46713325) Journal

          Really.

          Has there ever been a single documented case in the whole of history where the shareholders have ever successfully (or even unsuccessfully, for that matter) sued a company because the company wasn't doing enougl illegal stuff to bolster profits?

          • What makes you think bribing people in Russia is illegal?

            Far as I can tell, it's pretty much part of doing business over there....

            • by mgcarley (735176)

              Not just in Russia, that's for sure.

          • Why do you assume they are being told? I'd think that if a CEO wanted to look good and to avoid having to answer questions like "why didn't we get that big deal in (say) Russia even though we were better and cheaper?", or to avoid being replaced by someone who'd promise greater profits - and subsequently got them, simply by being more willing to grease those foreign governments where it's a traditional custom - he wouldn't necessarily feel the need to discuss it to them.
          • by Jawnn (445279)

            Really.

            Has there ever been a single documented case in the whole of history where the shareholders have ever successfully (or even unsuccessfully, for that matter) sued a company because the company wasn't doing enougl illegal stuff to bolster profits?

            Interesting question. My guess would be no, for who would pursue expensive litigation on a premise so outrageous. On the other hand, I'll bet that more than one corporate officer has been quietly dismissed for exactly that reason.

    • This is HP we're talking about, I'm pretty sure none of their executives have been human since Carly Fiorina...

    • Corporations are not people. They don't make decisions. Executives make decisions.

      Lock the bastards up.

      Of course, one of the purposes of a corporation is to limit liability. That way, if you start a business and fail, the creditors can't come after you personally. This is often seen as a good thing, encouraging risk taking without the fear of personal ruin. I might generally agree with that. But we are now seeing this limit on liability being used to shield decision-makers from the consequences of their decisions. This is especially true if the company is politically connected. What large company isn't

      • by afidel (530433)

        No, corporations exist to protect the OWNERS, not the executives or the board. In criminal cases the government is perfectly capable of prosecuting the individuals who committed or ordered others to commit crimes.

      • by doggo (34827) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @10:06AM (#46713635) Homepage

        And this is the problem, isn't it? Corporations shield corporate officers from criminal prosecution. The is the reform that needs to happen in the U.S., and the world.

        Criminal acts perpetrated by corporate agents need to be prosecuted. The agents, and their managers, up to the top level held responsible and subject to the criminal penalties.

        Or, at the very least, if we're going to continue to wrong-headed assertion that "corporations are people", then corporations need to be held accountable. If the "corporation" commits a crime that a human would be sentenced to a prison term for, that corporation should be stopped from doing business for the time of the sentence. No production. No trade. No accounts receivable/payable activity allowed. Dead stop.

        Corporate acts that result in human deaths, means the corporation gets the equivalent sentencing, whatever the normal human sentence is.

        • by HugeFatty (745805)

          I agree that corporations need to be held accountable for their actions, but imagine what could happen if we do what you suggest.

          Let's say it's your bank. Your ATM card, credit card, check book are now all useless. You can't pay your bills. You can't buy groceries.

          Or maybe it's your power company. If they're not allowed to produce, your lights go out. All of the food in your refrigerator goes bad. You don't have heating/air conditioning. You may not have hot water to bathe in.

          Or what if it was your e

    • Corporations are legally people. If a corporation commits a crime, it's corporate charter should be locked up for a few decades, and the corporation's freedoms should be limited to that given any other inmate. Do this, and suddenly you'll see a flood of individuals being held personally responsible.

  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:12AM (#46712585) Homepage Journal

    That equates out to like a $5 fine for those outside of the corporate bubble...

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:25AM (#46712641) Homepage

      Even inside the corporate bubble it's actually less than what a teenager could get for sharing a few music files with his friends.

      • And don't forget the CAN-SPAM violator that got like a 15 trillion dollar fine or whatever. $1000 per offense is $1000 per offense, lol.
    • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:44AM (#46712743)

      HP's annual revenue is on the order of $100Bn, so $108m is about 0.1% of their income. The median US household income is about $40,000, so this would be equivalent to you receiving a $40 fine.

      For international bribery and money laundering.

      • HP's annual revenue is on the order of $100Bn, so $108m is about 0.1% of their income.

        Revenue and income are two different things. Last year their revenue was $112B. Their income was $5B.

        HP 2013 Financial Report [marketwatch.com]

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Not that it looks better now. $800 for bribery and money laundering

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          However, in this case "household income" is pretty equivalent to a corporation's revenue. When someone asks how much I make a year, I don't subtract all the money I spend and tell them how much I have left over.

          • However, in this case "household income" is pretty equivalent to a corporation's revenue. When someone asks how much I make a year, I don't subtract all the money I spend and tell them how much I have left over.

            So if a realtor sells a client's house for $500K, and earns a commission of 2%, then his income is $500K?

            • by Sockatume (732728)

              Only if he originally owned the home in the first place.

            • by Mdk754 (3014249)
              Invalid claim. A realtor doesn't buy a house for $500K then mark it up 2%, they net 2% on the transaction. That 2% is their revenue, before expenses not after.
        • by Sockatume (732728)

          I'm comparing gross to gross. If you want net-to-net, the quantity you probably want is the household discretionary income* which is about $20,000. HP were fined 2% of their net income which for our imaginary household is $400.

          *After-tax income minus bills.

        • so HP income will be 4.9 billion this year

      • I seriously doubt that. The two largest companies in the world are valued at 80 and 81 billion approximately. Even after expenses, HP would be worth a hell of a lot of money after a few years if that 100 billion figure was correct.
      • by tomhath (637240)
        Yes, what they did was wrong according to US law. But it says more about how business is conducted in the other countries. HP had to choose between abandoning those markets or trying to get away with playing by the local rules. Now the SEC is slapping them with a ritual fine to show how shocked, yes shocked they are to learn this kind of thing is going on.
    • Question: how often are the profits from said illegal activity also forfeited on top of the fine? Is it "never" or is it "almost never"? Or am I being too cynical here? I'm not, am I? I'm being naive for even asking?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Of course, when the rules are designed to sabotage you, it's no wonder that Huweii is growing. It's not all HP's ineptness.Yes, it's all greased in most of the world. Deal with it.

  • by fredrated (639554) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:22AM (#46712623) Journal

    That's how justice works now in this third-world like corruption that governs business in the good 'ol USA.

    • by qbast (1265706)
      From TFA: "The Polish government has elected to charge several individuals — both from HP and the government — in criminal cases in an investigation related to the guilty plea from HP" . So charges in fact have been filed, just not in USA.
      • So what? If the people charged with a crime ever go to Poland, this might actually mean something.

        Ban HP products from sale in within the EU for a year. That's a proper and reasonable response.
        • So what? If the people charged with a crime ever go to Poland, this might actually mean something.

          In the article (yeah, who bothers with that) you will note that it was several of the regional executives who were fired for bribes. They are not meaning the CEO level.

          So yes, it is quite likely that some of those regional executives do live in the affected countries, and it will definitely mean something as they no longer have corporate ties to fund their defense.

          • You're quite right; I should stop relying on the stub to be in any way informative, or in fact accurate.
      • From TFA: "The Polish government has elected to charge several individuals — both from HP and the government — in criminal cases in an investigation related to the guilty plea from HP" . So charges in fact have been filed, just not in USA.

        Kind of makes Fredrated's point, eh?

    • You try and do business in crappy countries run by crooked assholes, this is what you have to do. Why do corporations not simply decide a country it too fucked up to do business in. If I was head of HP, first of all I'd fire everyone and shut down the company because they're basically a disease on the tech world. But besides that, I'd simply pull out of every messed up country until they get their shit together. It'd work like a non-UN trade embargo or sanctions that just occurs naturally. If Apple, Pe
      • by hendrips (2722525)

        Multitnationals refuse to do business is screwed up countries all the time. How much of a presence does Microsoft or Apple have in Zimbabwe?

        If you want a concrete example, one incident that's actually pretty well known is Coca-Cola refusing to do business in India from 1977 to 1993 after the Janta government tried to extort the formula for Coke and tried to partially nationalize the company's Indian operations.

  • No subject. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Himmy32 (650060) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:24AM (#46712637)
    "Hewlett-Packard has admitted to in order to profiteer off of lucrative government contracts in Russia, Poland, and Mexico, according to court documents.

    It's cool if you want to take part of the story for the summary, but you dropped out an important part.

    The Original:
    Hewlett-Packard has admitted to creating and using slush funds for bribes, money laundering, and clandestine “bag of cash” handoffs in order to profiteer off of lucrative government contracts in Russia, Poland, and Mexico, according to court documents.
  • That's called business. In many places such bribes, and expenditures are just simply part of business. Those in government get paid low wages. The take is considered acceptable as long as its within reason.

    And many places like Eastern Europe, Asia, S. America. You're not building an office building without bribes.

    • oh.. ok. It's all right then. Never mind.

      • My guess is since it's still being reported on, and negatively at that, all is not lost. There will be negative PR consequences for HP above and beyond the fine.

        There is a danger the prevalence of corruption in big business and government will inure us all to expect no better from them, but those folks still paying attention should maintain their right to be outraged.

        Even if most of the World were truly accepting of this bribery for business model, we are not beholden to lower our own fleeting morality

      • by JeffAtl (1737988)

        You missed the point and are being naive. Cultures and attitudes vary across the world - not every culture mirrors yours.

        • by benjfowler (239527) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:11AM (#46713017)

          Doesn't mean that all cultures are equivalent. I certainly wouldn't want my culture being considered equivalent to (say) the Dayak head-hunters, Nazi Germany or the Af-Pak tribal belt.

        • You missed the point and are being naive. Cultures and attitudes vary across the world - not every culture mirrors yours.

          What does that have to do with US law? HP broke US law. They should be held to account for that. If your point is that HP couldn't do business in these countries without breaking US law, then perhaps HP shouldn't do business in these countries. However, from what I read, they broke the laws of these other countries as well. So it seems that this is not simply how business is conducted. I understand that you can't get a building built on Staten Island without the okay from the local boss. But that doe

    • You're not building an office building without bribes.

      Actually, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act takes that into account.

      They can pay people when it is made to an official to expedite his performance of the duties he is already bound to perform.

      Walmart almost got in trouble for that a few years back for building permits, but since they claimed the buildings would eventually be built anyway rather than swaying from a yes/no position, everything went away.

      This wasn't a normal "grease payment". A grease payment for a building permit is more like how you might

      • Tipping is an odious, disgusting habit peculiar to America, which is the thin edge of the wedge to bribery and other forms of corruption.

    • by stoploss (2842505)

      That's called business. In many places such bribes, and expenditures are just simply part of business. Those in government get paid low wages. The take is considered acceptable as long as its within reason.

      And many places like Eastern Europe, Asia, S. America. You're not building an office building without bribes.

      Right, as far as I understand it, you will not get business without bribes. However, thanks to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act this is illegal for US companies. Wat do?

      From what I hear, it's ideal to partner with a local firm to place the bid. Said local partner firm will charge you various "consulting fees" and you don't ask questions when you pay these invoices to your partner firm. I mean, who knows what they are doing? You are relying on them for local expertise, after all.

      Surprise, you win contracts with

  • news?

  • by Connie_Lingus (317691) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:32AM (#46712685) Homepage

    to someone who lives, on a a daily basis, with the discrimination and stigma of being a convicted felon for minor drug offenses, these kind of articles piss me off to no end.

    these corporate douchebags can blatantly break federal, state, and international laws and not even lose their jobs, where people like me who got caught with some recreational substance see their entire careers and life go into the toilet.

    fuck those HP crooks, AND the DOJ they rode in on.

    • Sometimes those criminals are even made governor of a state.

      Rick Scott...

    • It reminds me of celebrities who can royally fuck up their lives with drugs and alcohol and still have an industry of enablers desperate to throw millions of dollars at them.

    • by PJ6 (1151747)
      Happens all the time [nytimes.com].
    • I would say you should read The Divide [amazon.com], but you're already living it.

      I sincerely hope you're able to escape your past and find peace and happiness.

    • by geek (5680)

      a convicted felon for minor drug offenses

      Which is it? Felon or minor drug offense, because it can't be both. Possession is a misdemeanor. Intent to sell is a felony. I seriously doubt your sob story.

      • Which is it? Felon or minor drug offense, because it can't be both. Possession is a misdemeanor. Intent to sell is a felony. I seriously doubt your sob story.

        seriously doubt this then buddy...

        05-2008-CF-XXXXX-AXXX-XX DRUGS REOPEN DISP 03/20/2008 STATE VS [NOPE] DEFENDANT (1) 09/16/19XX ABCDEF
        Cnt Record No. Charge Dt Statute Charge Disp Dt Final Disp Citation No.
        2 1 03/19/2008 893.13.1.F-T POSSESSION OF HEROIN 04/17/2013 GUILTY 20116366GLK
        3 1 03/19/2008 POSSESSION OF ALPRAZOLAM XANAX 04/12/2011 DISPOSED BY PROSECUTOR 20116367GLK
        4 1 03/19/2008 POSS OF METHYLENEDIOXYM

        • If I am an employer I will look past the possession part, but the DUI, driving w/ license suspended etc probably call for some questioning of judgement.

        • by geek (5680)

          So you were DUI (enough right there for me to pass you up for a job as I don't think you're a good person putting peoples lives at risk on the road) and 20 grams is certainly enough for any court to believe you had intent to sell it. Besides, you knew it was illegal but did it anyway. You now want to blame society for your stupidity.

          Couple all of that with your obvious lack of intelligence and for the life of me I can't figure out why no one would want to hire you

    • Oh, so you didn't know that it's a felony to carry those items when you were? Or are you just like every other drug user where you think the laws are unfair and you're too special for them to apply to you and now you blame everyone else now that you got caught? I'm betting on the 2nd statement there.
    • Don't hate the players, hate the game, my friend. The LAWS are the reason HP gets a slap on the wrist and you received an (alleged) unjust penalty.

      People don't like flopping in sports. Sure guys that flop look like douchebags, but they are just taking advantage of the rule. So change the rules!

      The corporate douchebags work VERY hard to influence lawmakers to pass laws that go easy on them....We unwashed masses do not do our due diligence....ie vote these crooked lawmakers out and elect officials who w
  • by benjfowler (239527) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:10AM (#46712985)

    In the UK, we have a particularly strict law called the Bribery Act 2010, which is good, because it not only prohibits giving and receiving bribes to win business, but it also prohibits failing to prevent it.

    Does America have anything even close? I suppose I shouldn't be surprised if they don't, because the US rent-seeker corporate Right would fight it tooth and nail.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes. It's wildly illegal to give or accept bribes in the US though the bit about failing to prevent it is left to the vagueries of the justice system. The main point of our anti-bribery laws is that jurisdiction more or less doesn't matter. I.e. if you go to Egypt on business and bribe a customs official to let you in on a tourist visa and get caught and charged, when you get home you'll be charged with bribing a foreign official even though the crime was not committed in the US.

      Unequivocally, it is ille

  • by rohis (248695)

    Here comes to layoff to make up estimated $200m shortfall in revenue. (Management will stay the same so we can increase revenue further)

  • Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone was on the Daily Show a few nights back, pimping his book The Divide [amazon.com]. This is what happens in our two-tiered justice system. Steal big, and maybe you have to give some of the money you stole to the government, but no jail time. Steal small, jail.

    Really, it comes down to whether or not you can bribe the government. So long as the government's gettin' its beak wet, they don't really care about international bribery and money laundering.

  • The US military should just drop bombs on their headquarters. That would get rid of HP's perpetually unfair bullshit forever and single handedly double the quality of laptops and printers as a whole worldwide. And secondary targets should be Open Candy and Conduit's headquarters.

    Vote Slashmydots for president, 2016 - "We'll bomb our way to a better tech world."
    • luckily for me, even though I work for HP, we are in a bomb-proof building built to survive the Cold War nukes...the original SABRE home, so that sounds like job security to me.
  • This is why people in those countries go into government in the first place -- so you can ge in the way of things so you can get paid to get back out of the way.

    This happens in the US, too, but not as much (or, a lot more, based on dollars, but with a much more polished meme cover story).

    "Well, look at that. Those oil or pharmas are having unconscionable profits agin', Homer!"

  • That would be wagging the dog. Nail the ones who take them. They are the criminals.

  • ... in exchange for how many billion dollars in profit?
  • Because every time an HP leader breaks the law the employees must take the training.

  • In globalization, every MNC is a Pyramid/Ponzi scandal.

In every non-trivial program there is at least one bug.

Working...