HP says products may have been sold to Syria by others

Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:37pm EST
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By Nicola Leske

(Reuters) - Hewlett Packard Co said in a letter made public on Friday that its products could have been delivered to Syria through resellers or distributors, but the world's largest PC maker affirmed it did not sell directly to the country.

The letter was a response to a request from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Office of Global Security Risk that asked whether HP's products were sold in countries where they would be subject to U.S. sanctions.

"We are aware of November 2011 news reports that your equipment was installed by the Italian company, Area SpA, in Syria as part of a nationwide surveillance and tracking system designed to monitor people in that country," the SEC wrote in its request.

"Please describe to us the nature, duration, and extent of your past, current, and anticipated contacts with Syria and Iran, whether through subsidiaries, distributors, resellers, vendors, retailers, or other direct or indirect arrangements."

In a letter dated October 9, HP said it had not authorized the sale of products to Syria.

Instead, HP said the Italian surveillance company had likely obtained its products from an HP partner that was unaware of their ultimate destination.

In another October 9 letter to the agency, HP said it ended its contract with Area SpA in April.

Calls to HP seeking further comment were unanswered as were calls to Area SpA.   Continued...

A logo of HP is seen outside Hewlett-Packard Belgian headquarters in Diegem, near Brussels, January 12, 2010. REUTERS/Thierry Roge