Bit surprising

German prosecutors, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal in April, are looking into the possibility that H-P executives paid about €8 million ($10.9 million) in bribes to win a €35 million contract under which the U.S. company sold computer gear, through a German subsidiary, to the office of the prosecutor general of the Russian Federation. The German probe has been joined by U.S. and Russian authorities, according to people familiar with the matter.

No, not that a bribe was paid: it would be surprising if no bribe had been paid.

Over 20% looks a bit steep though. Anywhere from 3-10% is more what I would have expected.

A German prosecution spokesman says his office is investigating the flow of about €8 million transferred by three H-P dealers in Germany to accounts outside of Germany. The three German dealers declined to comment.

Court records show the funds were paid according to invoices flown to Germany between 2004 and 2006 in the luggage of a person who worked for an H-P dealer in Moscow.

Ah, OK. So, since there was some bribery going on various other people will have jumped on board to get a cut of the action, move some money around out of tax nets and so on. Umm, purely in my opinion, of course.

But I can actually help here:

Without assistance from the U.S. or from Russia, German investigators say they may never be able to identify the ultimate beneficiaries of the funds.

Have a look at the contract itself. Read the names of the people who signed it. They will be a least some of the recipients.

For of course the point of the bribe is to make sure that these certain people who have the power to sign such a contract do in fact sign this contract.

2 thoughts on “Bit surprising”

  1. This, I suspect, is rather more to do with US export regulations concerning advanced computer equipment more than concerns over bribery.

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