(Corrects paragraph 3 to say it had not authorized the sale)
By Nicola Leske
Nov 23 Hewlett Packard Co said it does
not sell products to Syria, but acknowledged in a letter made
public on Friday that its products could have been delivered
there through resellers or distributors.
The letter was in response to a Securities and Exchange
Commission's Office of Global Security Risk request that asked
whether HP's products were sold in countries where they would be
subject to U.S. sanctions.
HP had requested confidentiality, even as it insisted that
it had not authorized the sale of its products to Syria in its
Oct. 9 response.
Instead, HP said Italian surveillance company Area SpA had
likely obtained its products from an HP partner that was unaware
of their ultimate destination.
In another Oct. 9 letter to the agency, HP said that it had
ended its contract with Area SpA in April.
Calls to HP seeking further comment were unanswered as were
calls to Area SpA.
HP's overseas subsidiaries ended sales of printers and
related supplies to third-party distributors and resellers with
customers in Iran in early 2009, the company wrote.
But because its products are often sold by others through
indirect channels without its knowledge or consent, "it is
always possible that products may be diverted to Iran or Syria
after being sold to channel partners, such as distributors and
resellers," HP said.
Reuters has documented how banned computer equipment from
U.S. companies has made its way to Iran's largest telecom firm
through China-based ZTE.
Networking equipment maker Cisco Systems has since cut its
ties to ZTE.
HP said in both letters that it would continue to work with
ZTE, but that it had conducted an internal investigation
relating to an alleged sale of its products to MTN Irancell,
Iran's second largest mobile carrier.
HP is eager to avoid more negative publicity after
surprising the market on Tuesday with an $8.8 billion write-down
on its $11.1 billion acquisition of software group Autonomy
accusing the British company of improper accounting to inflate
Autonomy has denied any wrongdoing.
(Reporting by Nicola Leske, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)