MOSCOW, April 10 (RAPSI) - Hewlett-Packard and its subsidiaries will pay over $108 million after agreeing to plead guilty to foreign bribery charges, including in connection with a large-scale 1999 contract with Russia’s federal prosecutors’ office, the US Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

In 1999, the Russian government sought to automate the federal Office of the Prosecutor General’s computer and telecommunications infrastructure, the statement said, citing court documents.

Zeroing in on the potential to earn hundreds of millions of dollars, “HP Russia executives and other employees structured the deal to create a secret slush fund totaling several million dollars, at least part of which was intended for bribes to Russian government officials,” according to the statement.

HP Russia allegedly admitted to having created excess profit margins by selling hardware to a Russian partner, and then buying the goods back at a mark-up and with purported service payments. The funds were then transferred through various shell companies and then laundered through off-shore bank accounts.

Some of the funds were allegedly used to pay for travel, cars, jewelry, clothing, expensive watches, swimming pool technology, furniture, and household appliances. HP Russia allegedly kept two separate sets of books – one set clandestinely detailing the illicit payments, and a second set that kept them hidden.

HP Russia was charged in California with conspiracy as well as substantive violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’s provisions on bribery and accounting.

HP subsidiaries in Poland and Mexico likewise admitted to misconduct – the former in connection with a contract with Poland’s national police agency, and the latter in connection with a contract with Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company.

The $108 million payout includes both criminal penalties and regulatory ones arising from a deal the company and its subsidiaries struck with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).