September 15, 2006 11:49 pm

Congress calls HP officials to testify

Hewlett-Packard’s chairman and general counsel have been asked to appear before Congress to discuss their roles in a boardroom spying scandal that has rocked the world’s second-biggest computer group.

Patricia Dunn, chairman, and Ann Baskins, general counsel, were on Friday invited to appear before members of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee on September 28.

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Larry Sonsini, HP’s outside counsel, and Ronald DeLia, a Boston-based private investigator who has been linked to the HP scandal, were also invited to testify before the committee, which is investigating the use of “pretexting” by data brokers.

The requests came as an HP shareholder filed a derivative suit on behalf of the company alleging breach of fiduciary duty, waste of corporate assets and other wrongdoing by HP executives and company directors involved in the debacle.

HP last week came under investigation by state and federal authorities after it was revealed that investigators working on behalf of its board had spied on company directors and journalists in order to pinpoint the source of a boardroom leak.

Ms Dunn earlier this week said she would step down as chairman in January in an effort to defuse a crisis.

But they have vigorously defended the need to crack down on leaks of confidential information from within HP.

Neither HP nor Mr DeLia returned messages seeking comment on Friday.

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