Alstom says will aim for best practices after record bribery settlement

22 Dec 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

Alstom to Pay $772 Million to Settle Bribery Charges.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The French firm Alstom SA has pleaded guilty and will pay $772 million (494 million pounds) in criminal penalties to settle charges with the U.S. The settlement announced by the Justice Department on Monday marks the largest-ever criminal fine levied by the United States against a company for violations of foreign bribery laws.

The fine will resolve charges related to a “widespread scheme involving tens of millions of dollars” in bribes around the world, including countries such as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Bahamas, the DOJ said. The record criminal penalty in part reflects what prosecutors saw as an initial failure of the company to fully cooperate, according to people familiar with the matter.

U.S. authorities have ramped up overseas bribery enforcement in recent years, often investigating foreign companies that have a subsidiary located within the U.S. DOJ said Alstom pleaded guilty to a two-count criminal information filed in a federal court in Connecticut and that Alstom’s Swiss unit also pleaded guilty to criminal charges that it conspired to violate federal bribery laws. Earlier on Monday, a unit of Alstom and two employees were also charged by the Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom with bribing officials from 2002 through part of 2010.

Alstom’s power turbines unit has already been under tremendous heat, both because of the looming bribery probe fines and from a drop in orders and a cash crunch.

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