German Prosecutors Accuse HP Employees of Bribery to Secure Russian Contract

One current and two former Hewlett-Packard employees have been named in a criminal bribery case brought on by German prosecutors. According to the indictment, a three-year investigation found that HP executives issued $10 million in kickbacks in order to secure a contract worth four and a half times as much with Russia's Prosecutor General Office.

Why would Germany get involved? The three HP executives allegedly helped create a fund designed to funnel money to Russia through a German subsidiary, passing through a number of shell companies and accounts along the way. Those named in the indictment include Hilmar Lorenz (forming HP marketing executive in Russia), Ken Willett (Germany-based American HP manager), and Paivi Tiippana (former manager of the company).


In a written statement, an HP spokesperson said that the current and former employees named in the indictment relates to alleged conduct that occurred almost 10 years go. HP, as a company, was only named as a side participant and is cooperating with authorities, the firm said.

Those named in the indictment could face up to four years in prison, if found guilty. HP, meanwhile, could be ordered to cough up any profits it earned from the deal.