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German prosecution charges HP staff with bribing Russian officials to clinch PC contract

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
September 20, 2012
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The legal system's engines can take awhile to get churning, but there's no questioning the impact when they're at full bore. German prosecutors have wrapped up an almost three-year investigation into allegations of HP managers' bribery by charging the executives involved. Hilmar Lorenz, Päivi Tiippana and Ken Willett, along with claimed accomplice Ralf Krippner, have all been indicted for supposedly funneling €7.5 million ($9.7 million) in bribes through a German subsidiary and far-flung shell accounts to land a €35 million ($45.3 million) PC supply deal with Russia's Prosecutor General Office early in the previous decade. While only the people directly attached to the scandal currently face any consequences if found guilty, German lawyers are motioning to have the PC builder attached to the case, and there's a chance the formal charges could fuel an ongoing US investigation. HP is cooperating even as it's trying to distance itself from the indictments as much as possible -- these are for old allegations and a "former HP company," it says. While we don't yet know the whole story, it may be a protracted tale knowing that at least Tiippana and Willett plan to fight the accusations.

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