November 26, 2012, 6:17 AM —
Hewlett-Packard said in a letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it had determined that its products were procured from a partner that was not informed that their ultimate destination was Syria.
HP was responding to a Sept. 6 letter from the SEC asking the company to comment on news reports in November 2011 that its equipment was allegedly installed in Syria by Italian company Area as part of a nationwide surveillance and tracking system designed to monitor people there, according to documents made public late last week.
The U.S. government has imposed a number of economic sanctions on Syria, including controls on the export of most U.S. products to the country.
In a letter dated Oct. 9 to Cecilia Blye at the SEC's Office of Global Security Risk, HP said it had determined that Area did not procure the HP products believed to have been sold into Syria directly from HP, but instead procured them from an HP partner that was not informed of the ultimate destination for those products.
Area was required under the terms of its contract with HP to comply with all applicable export laws and was specifically prohibited from selling HP's products into embargoed or sanctioned countries, HP vice president and associate general counsel David K. Ritenour wrote in the letter. HP terminated its contract with Area in April this year, he added.
Ritenour said that in June 2009 HP obtained an export license from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) for the sale of HP products worth US$1 million to MTN Syria, a private telecommunications company.
Apart from that sale, he wrote, HP has not directly or indirectly knowingly provided its products and services in Iran or Syria since April 21, 2009, and did not authorize the sale of its products for use in surveillance or tracking activities in Iran or Syria, or to the governments of the two countries.