The Swiss subsidiary of French transport and engineering company Alstom has been found guilty of corporate negligence following a lengthy corruption inquiry.This content was published on November 22, 2011 - 11:59
The Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office said on Tuesday Alstom Network Schweiz AG had been fined SFr2.5 million ($2.74 million) and ordered to pay SFr36.4 million in compensation relating to three cases where it had failed to prevent the bribery of foreign officials in Latvia, Tunisia and Malaysia.
The punishment comes after investigations into the company’s actions in 15 countries were reopened in 2008. The investigation concluded that Alstom had failed to enforce a compliance policy with the “necessary persistence”.
“Therefore, acts of bribery in Latvia, Tunisia and Malaysia were not prevented,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
“The investigation showed that consultants engaged by Alstom… had forwarded a considerable part of their success fees to foreign decision makers [in the countries concerned] and thereby had influenced the latter in favour of Alstom.”
The prosecutor’s office said that after “considerable investigative efforts” it had detected some breaches of internal compliance methods, but no additional acts of bribery in the other 12 countries.
It dismissed proceedings against parent company Alstom SA in relation to the Latvian, Tunisian and Malaysian cases after imposing costs of SFr1 million.
In a statement, Alstom said it was satisfied that the Swiss prosecutor’s office had not found evidence “of any system or so-called slush funds used for bribery of civil servants to illegally obtain contracts”.
The company said that in two of the three cases were it was found to be at fault, it was a “victim of the actions of some of its employees”, while in the third, Alstom was “simply a subcontractor of a consortium”.
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