More HP court actions hit Hurd

Mark Hurd

Oracle co-president Mark Hurd has been named as a prime co-defendant in a court action brought against his former employer, HP.

Court papers alleged Hurd raised an estimated $97 million (62 million) in deals struck following the bribery of government contractors and vendors.

Additionally, 10 other members of the HP board at that time stand accused of abandoning their duty to shareholders by "rewarding Hurd for his conscious decision to allow HP employees to engage in illegal activity."

HP is also under investigation by the German Public Prosecutor's Office, the US Department of Justice, and the Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged bribery in European deals.

In the new case, Saginaw Police & Fire Pension Fund, a major HP shareholder, claimed Hurd breached his duty to shareholders by allowing practices that violated the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Act.

The case sprang from a decision taken by HP in August to pay $55 million (35 million) to settle a Justice Department investigation into alleged malpractice regarding a General Services Administration contract. The settlement also covered a threatened lawsuit that the company paid kickbacks.

The pension fund accuses the board of tarnishing HP's reputation, endangering existing and future government contracts, and of the resulting unnecessary loss in fines, according to documents filed to the court.

Influencers were said to have been offered payments that resulted in HP securing over $880 million from government contracts between 2007 and 2009. This may result in further penalties being levied by the Justice Department.

The actions have opened speculation that these accusations could have been the underlying reason why the HP board removed Hurd from his office last August.

The official reason was Hurd made illicit payments to a special events contractor employed by HP, which he charged to business expenses.

The case comes following Oracle's attack on HP's new CEO Lo Apotheker earlier this month, for alleged malpractices by SAP subsidiaries whilst Apotheker was in charge.