The trial of a UK subsidiary of Paris-based Alstom started Tuesday, with the Serious Fraud Office alleging in filings that the company paid $8.5 million in bribes for contracts in India, Poland, and Tunisia.
Alstom Network UK was charged in July with six offenses of corruption and conspiracy to corrupt. The SFO said it paid bribes for work on the Delhi Metro and tram and infrastructure projects in Warsaw and Tunis between 2000 and 2006.
The SFO said Tuesday the bribes went to Indo European Ventures Pte Ltd and Global King Technology Ltd in India, Sagax Engineering Limited and Kavan BV in Poland, and Construction et Gestion NEVCO in Tunisia.
In the United States, three Alstom executives have pleaded guilty to bribing officials in Indonesia to win a power project. Charges are pending against a fourth executive.
Marubeni Corporation, Alstom’s consortium partner on the Indonesia project, pleaded guilty in March this year to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and seven counts of violating the FCPA. The Japanese trading company paid a criminal fine of $88 million.
The SFO’s five-year investigation started when the attorney general of Switzerland provided information about Alstom’s UK unit.
In 2010, the SFO arrested three Alstom UK executives after police raided offices and residential addresses in London and six other locations.
In 2008, Swiss police arrested a former Alstom manager and searched for evidence as part of a corruption and money-laundering investigation. Offices near Zurich and in Baden were raided, along with homes in several cantons.
The Swiss attorney general fined Alstom about $40 million in 2011 for corporate negligence for failing to stop overseas bribery.
The French government last month approved General Electric’s plan to buy most of Alstom’s power business for about $17 billion.
In the UK, the next hearing in the case at the Southwark Crown Court is set for October 6.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.