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By | Joe Fay 21st December 2010 10:43

SEC probes whether Hurd leaked EDS buy info

Fisher case haunts former HP boss

The SEC has gotten on Mark Hurd's case, with an investigation that will look into whether the former HP boss passed on information about the acquisition of EDS to his nemesis, Jodie Fisher.

The Wall Street Journal cites its favourite source – people familiar with the matter – to report that the inside information issue is part of a a "broad inquiry" into Hurd's departure from the computer and services giant earlier this year.

The US financial regulator is also looking at the mis-filed expense reports that HP cited as the reason for Hurd's eventual departure.

Hurd's rapid exit from HP came after an accusation of sexual harassment from Fisher, a contractor who helped run networking events for the vendor. While HP's board said an investigation cleared Hurd of any misconduct in that respect, it did raise questions over some of his expense claims.

Hurd and Fisher settled their own issues, but Hurd set the stage for a further run-in with HP after he ran straight into the arms of Larry Ellison, becoming co-president of Oracle.

According to The Journal the SEC is now poring over Fisher's initial claims in a letter. The 29 June letter from Fisher's lawyer alleged that Hurd had discussed HP's takeover of the services giant with Fisher before the deal was officially announced. Fisher later said that her original claims contained inaccuracies, though she didn't detail exactly what she'd gotten confused over.

The Journal notes that any discussion of the EDS takeover by Hurd would only become a legal issue if Fisher had traded on the information, or passed it on to someone else who did.

The Associated Press quoted a lawyer for Hurd who said that "Mark acted properly in all respects", but that the SEC's probe was understandable.

HP said it was cooperating with the SEC. ®

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