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November 26, 2012

HP: We Didn't Sell Products to Syria

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

One year ago, HP found itself in some hot water. More than a half a million dollars’ worth of its products turned up in a computer room in Syria. The equipment was meant to underpin a surveillance system that would allow the nation’s state-owned telephone company to monitor citizens’ e-mails and Internet use.

U.S. exports to Syria have been banned since 2004.

The Italian company in charge of the project, Area SpA, reportedly bought the equipment through resellers in Italy, Bloomberg reported at the time. At the time, HP denied any knowledge of the transaction. 


Image via Shutterstock

“HP’s policy is to comply with all U.S. export control laws and regulations,” said the company in a statement. “We do not have any employees or facilities in Syria, and our sales to parties in that country have been limited to items that are consistent with U.S. law and licensing policy on telecommunications products. Compliance with U.S. and international trade laws are of the highest priority for HP,” the company said.

The company repeated its denial of knowledge of the transaction in September before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC (News - Alert)) in the form of a letter, and a regulatory filing that followed in October.

In the letter, HP said the company accused of selling its technology into Syria, Area SpA, was required to comply with all applicable export laws, including those prohibiting selling HP’s products into embargoed or sanctioned countries, the Wall Street Journal is reporting today.

HP said the products that Area SpA was believed to have sold to Syria didn’t come from HP, but were procured from “an HP partner that was not informed of the ultimate destination for those products,” said the company.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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