Hewlett-Packard and Bank of Ireland Squabble Over Porn

Gretchen Gallen
DUBLIN – In a case that has pitted the Bank of Ireland against Hewlett Packard, neither party is willing to pick up the bill in the aftermath of a adult-related scandal that managed to rock the esteemed banking institution to its very core.

Several months after Michael Soden, president of the Bank of Ireland, resigned after porn was discovered on his office computer, the Bank of Ireland is pointing the finger at HP, saying it is responsible for creating a hostile work environment that allegedly caused its IT department employees to leak the story to the Irish press.

At issue is whether HP or the Bank of Ireland will be stuck paying off Soden's substantial severance package that could tally up well into the millions of dollars. Bank officials believe the onus should be on HP.

Soden's surfing habits were discovered with seeming randomness in a routine maintenancing of his computer by IT staff. The bank is alleging that the IT staff had become disgruntled that their jobs had been outsourced to HP, a deal that Soden was responsible for.

Prior to the porn scandal, Soden had penned a deal with HP that would have effectively shifted those IT staffers to work for HP, and several key employees were dissatisfied with the terms of the outsourcing that would have forced them to resign.

As soon as the press got hold of the story, the bank alleges it was forced to go public with the story, which has resulted in increased public scrutiny and embarrassment to both Soden and other bank officials.

Soden was forced to resign after only having violated the bank's computer policy, and according to the Register, no child porn was found on his computer.

Soden is said to have made the outsourcing deal with HP shortly after being promoted to the position of chief executive.

The Bank of Ireland was also caught in a secondary porn scandal earlier this year for its involvement in a financing deal to help purchase a collection of pornographic magazines from porn mogul Richard Desmond.

The financing deal was eventually carried out by the Bank of Scotland, which loaned several million dollars to finance startup company Remnant Media, which bought 45 adult magazines from Desmond.

Both banks were forced to issue apologies to shareholders and women's and religious groups that were outraged by the affiliation with the adult industry.

At the time of the Bank of Ireland's involvement in the adult-oriented loan, the National Women’s Council of Ireland said it would be advising its members to close any accounts they had with Bank of Ireland unless it withdrew its involvement in the sex industry.