* Products may have been sold to Syria via third parties
* Company does not allow sales to Syria, Iran or Sudan
* Italy's Area SpA likely got HP products from HP partner
By Nicola Leske
Nov 23 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 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
"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 Oct. 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 Oct. 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.
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
telecommunications company through China-based ZTE.
Networking equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc has
since cut its ties to ZTE.
HP said in both letters that it would continue to work with
ZTE, but it had conducted an internal investigation relating to
an alleged sale of its products to MTN Irancell, Iran's second
largest mobile carrier.
The company was also asked about EDS - an IT outsourcing
company that HP bought in 2008 - and any activity in Iran, Syria
HP said it had the same policy regarding Sudan as it did on
sales to Iran or Syria.
HP is eager to avoid more negative publicity after
surprising the market on Tuesday with an $8.8 billion writedown
on its $11.1 billion acquisition of software group Autonomy,
accusing the British company of improper accounting to inflate
Autonomy has denied any wrongdoing.