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Alstom to pay £494m in bribery case

A French power and transportation company has agreed to pay 772 million dollars (£494 million) in penalties to the US to resolve allegations that it bribed government officials in multiple foreign countries.

US justice department officials announced that Alstom would plead guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Prosecutors say the company and several subsidiaries falsified books and paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes for contracts for power, grid and transportation projects. Authorities say the bribes were paid in countries including Egypt, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.

The guilty plea was being entered in federal court in Connecticut, where a US subsidiary is located.

The justice department says five individuals, including four executives of Alstom and its subsidiaries, have already been charged in connection with bribery-related schemes.

"Alstom's corruption scheme was sustained over more than a decade and across several continents," deputy attorney James Cole said at a news conference. "It was astonishing in its breadth, its brazenness and its worldwide consequences."

In a statement, Alstom said it had improved its compliance practices and was looking to move past the allegations.

"There were a number of problems in the past and we deeply regret that," said Alstom chief executive Patrick Kron.

"However, this resolution with the (justice department) allows Alstom to put this issue behind us and to continue our efforts to ensure that business is conducted in a responsible way, consistent with the highest ethical standards."

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