Securities and Exchange Commission
has escalated its probe into the
spying controversy, bringing the agency's division of enforcement into the picture.
According to a filing with the SEC by H-P late Thursday, the company has received a request from the enforcement division for records and information relating to the resignation of former H-P board member Tom Perkins.
Previously, H-P had characterized the SEC's involvement as consisting of a comment letter from the SEC's division of corporate finance, to which H-P said it intended to respond.
H-P said at the time that it believed its official disclosure regarding Perkins' resignation were accurate and complete.
Perkins resigned from H-P's board in May in protest of the company's investigation into boardroom leaks to the press. Since then, Perkins and Keyworth, who also resigned, have acknowledged talking to the press.
H-P has been rocked by the leak investigation, following the revelation that independent investigators that H-P retained accessed personal phone records of board members, employees and journalists. The California Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice are looking into the incidents, which may have violated state identity theft laws.
The SEC's enforcement division is seeking documents relating to several H-P SEC filings describing the company's internal leak investigation and the resulting resignation of Perkins.
According to SEC's Web site, the division of enforcement "conducts investigations into possible violations of the federal securities laws, and prosecutes the Commission's civil suits in the federal courts as well as its administrative proceedings."
By contrast, the division of corporate finance which initially contacted H-P on the matter focuses more on disclosure issues, with a mission to "see that investors are provided with material information in order to make informed investment decisions."
H-P spokesperson Ryan Donovan said he could not comment on whether the SEC has indicated any escalation in the severity of its probe by involving the division of enforcement.
H-P also said in its filing Thursday that Perkins and Keyworth and H-P have agreed to a mutual release of claims stemming from the spying affair, although both former board members reserve the right to sue any independent contractors as well as to cooperate fully with any government inquiries into the issues.