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SEC investigating Hurd's departure from HP

Did CEO provide insider information over EDS deal?

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an information investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mark Hurd's departure from Hewlett-Packard, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Citing unnamed sources, the paper said in its online edition that the SEC is trying to learn whether Hurd passed along insider information related to HP's May 2008 acquisition of Electronic Data Systems. The SEC is also scrutinising inaccurate expense reports filed by the former HP CEO and looking at whether he destroyed evidence, the Journal reported.

Reached on Monday, HP said it is "cooperating fully with the SEC on its investigation".

Hurd shocked Silicon Valley in August by abruptly resigning, following an investigation into claims that he had sexually harassed Jodie Fisher, a former HP contractor and unsuccessful movie actress. HP's investigation cleared Hurd of the sexual harassment charges, but found that he had filed inaccurate expense reports in an effort to conceal his relationship with Foster.

Fisher worked for HP between 2007 and 2009, and the SEC investigation appears to be focused on previously reported allegations that Hurd told Fisher about the $13.9 billion EDS allegation before it was announced. If Fisher or someone she knew executed a trade based on that information, that would be insider trading.

Hurd had a staid and low-profile image while HP's CEO, but was credited with turning the company's finances around during his four-year tenure there.

He has had more than his share of attention in the past few months, however. He is now president of Oracle. HP sued Hurd after he took that job, but that lawsuit was settled in September.


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