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SFO charges another individual in Alstom corruption case

The UK Serious Fraud Office charged another individual Tuesday as part of the ongoing investigation into Alstom.

Terence Stuart Watson, the Alstom Country President for the UK and Managing Director of Alstom Transport UK and Ireland, was charged with violating section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and with conspiracy to corrupt contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 197.

Watson — the seventh individual charged in the case — will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on April 5.

The SFO said he’ll be tried with defendants Alstom Network UK Ltd, Michael John Anderson, and Jean-Daniel Lainé. Their trial date has been fixed for May 2017.

Before Lainé retired, he was senior vice president of ethics and compliance and a director of Alstom International Limited.

Watson’s alleged offenses occurred from 2003 to 2008, the SFO said, and concern the supply of trains to the Budapest Metro.

Alstom manufactures rail, power, and energy equipment. In June 2014, Alstom agreed to sell its power business to General Electric for €12.4 billion ($15.6 billion).

In July 2014, the SFO charged Alstom Network UK Ltd and British nationals Graham Hill and Robert Hallett with corruption in India, Poland, and Tunisia. Their trial is set to start in May 2016.

The SFO also charged Alstom Power Ltd, Nicholas Reynolds, and Johanes Venskus with corruption in Lithuania. Their trial is scheduled to begin in January 2017.

In the United States, Alstom pleaded guilty in December last year to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing officials in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Bahamas. It paid the DOJ $772 million in criminal penalties to settle the charges. The fine was the biggest criminal penalty for FCPA offenses and the second biggest FCPA enforcement action overall.

Three Alstom executives have pleaded guilty in the United States to bribing officials in Indonesia to win a power project contract. Charges are pending against a fourth executive.

The SFO investigation started based on information from the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland.

In 2008, Swiss police arrested a former Alstom manager and searched for evidence as part of a corruption and money-laundering probe. Police raided offices near Zurich and in Baden, 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.

In the United States, Marubeni Corporation, Alstom’s consortium partner on the Indonesia project, pleaded guilty in March 2014 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.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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