Hewlett Packard has bunged the US Department of Justice $16.25 million to end an investigation into its allegedly corrupt ways.
HP was thought to have "violated the competitive bidding rules of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) E-Rate Program at the Dallas and Houston Independent School Districts in connection with technology services contracts with those school districts", the DOJ said.
More specifically, HP was believed to have proffered "illegal gratuities and inducements to school officials, such as the use of several yachts and tickets to sporting events, including the 2004 Super Bowl, while the companies were bidding on school district contracts funded by the E-Rate Program."
“The E-Rate Program provides much-needed funding that allows underprivileged students to access the Internet,” said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. “We will continue to pursue those who use improper inducements to undermine the integrity of this important program.”
HP coughed up the dough so that it can claim it did nothing wrong.
That's how the DOJ operates. Time and time again, it investigates big tech companies alleged to have been involved in some shenanigans or other. As it gets close to proving the allegations, the company involved will have a rummage around down the back of the sofa and produce a few million dollars to bung at the investigators, which they'll accept so long as the company is allowed to maintain its innocence.
Intel, Microsoft, Dell. you name it they've all been at it at one time or another.
The DOJ investigation followed complaints from two miffed whistle blowers who will now each receive a share of the loot.