The mess began when an audit of a small German company turned up suspicious transactions. In their hunt to find some answers, German officials discovered an international network of money transfers. In December 2009, the German government searched HP's Boeblingen and Munich premises.
As a result of that probe, it's believed that HP funneled €8 million in bribes through a system of international shell companies and bank accounts to win a hefty contract. The €35 million deal was to provide the Russian government with computer equipment between 2003 and 2007.
The case is mostly focused on a handful of individuals who, in addition the bribery rap, also face possible charges of tax evasion and breach of trust. HP has responded to the news by saying that the alleged conduct occurred almost seven years ago, largely by employees no longer with the company.