Mail from readers often helps us stay on track. A recent example was a thoughtful note about our post, H-P pays $32 million for cheating the post office.
Here’s what the reader said:
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Dear FCPA Blog,
Just read your blog article on HP’s settlement with DOJ for alleged violations of the “most favored customer pricing” clause.
The title of the article said that HP paid $32 million “for cheating the Post Office.”
The DOJ press release says that this was a settlement based on allegations and there were no admissions or findings that the allegations were true.
It’s possible that HP was cheating the Postal Service. It’s also possible that HP wasn’t cheating the Postal Service, but made a business decision that it was cheaper to settle than risk fighting the case.
I’ve represented contractors in similar circumstances, and the pressure on a large company to settle the case is enormous, regardless of the strength of the government’s case or contractor’s defense. Most companies who believe they didn’t do anything wrong would still rather pay to resolve one of these claims than take even a small risk of a much worse outcome. Who knows if that’s what happened here or not?
FYI, I have no connection to HP, just think the title of the blog article was a bit unfair.
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As here’s our reply . . . .
Sometimes the headline writers get carried away.
The FCPA Blog
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.