The scandal surrounding Mark Hurd's departure from the world's largest technology company in August has officially drawn attention from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal today, the SEC is examining allegations that Hewlett-Packard's former chairman and chief executive passed valuable information about his company's pending acquisition of Electronic Data Systems (EDS) several months before the deal was made public in 2008.
But the inquiry into Hurd's actions is broader than that. The SEC is also looking into several things he reportedly did prior to being ousted by his board of directors in early August. The person Hurd is said to have told about the EDS purchase is Jodie Fisher, the former marketing contractor who accused Hurd of sexual harassment, which led to an internal investigation by HP's board. Despite clearing him of harassment, the inquiry found that he misreported his expenses to the company.
Hurd has admitted only that "there were instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect, and integrity that I have espoused at HP." The claim, that he told Fisher about EDS first appeared in a letter Fisher's lawyer, Gloria Allred, wrote to Hurd in June, was made public last month.
The SEC is said to be looking into Hurd's botched expense reports, as well as claims that he destroyed computer evidence prior to his departure from the company, according to the Journal report. It's not clear how far its probe has progressed. The Journal's source says there's a chance that this may not develop into a lawsuit.
HP said in a statement that it "is cooperating fully with the SEC on its investigation."
Hurd is now president of Oracle, software maker and growing rival to HP.