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UK Enforcement: Alstom unit fined $21 million for overseas bribes

The SFO’s decade-long investigation of Paris-based Alstom ended Monday with the sentencing of a UK subsidiary for bribery in Tunisia.

Alstom Network UK Ltd was ordered to pay £16.4 million ($21.2 million) for conspiracy to corrupt a contract to supply trams. The penalty consisted of £15 million ($19.4 million) in fines and £1.4 million ($1.8 million) in costs.

The Serious Fraud Office said the company paid an intermediary called Construction et Gestion Nevco Inc. (Nevco) €2.4 million ($2.6 million) for a contract with Tunisia Metro worth €79.9 million ($88 million).

Although Nevco was “simply a conduit for bribes,” Alstom faked internal compliance checks by creating paperwork to show services rendered.

SFO director Lisa Osofsky said Monday, “This sentencing brings to an end a case which involved cooperation from over 30 countries and concerned conduct across Europe and beyond.”

Another Alstom unit — Alstom Power Ltd — pleaded guilty in 2016 to UK corruption charges. It paid nearly $23 million in penalties for bribing Lithuanian officials to win a power project.

Three former Alstom employees were also jailed in the UK case. After guilty pleas, John Venskus received a three year and six month prison sentence, and Göran Wikström was sentenced to two years and seven months. Nicholas Reynolds was convicted by a jury and sentenced to four years and six months in prison.

Five individuals were acquitted of various UK corruption charges during the long-running case.

In the United States, Alstom SA pleaded guilty in December 2014 to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing officials in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Bahamas. It paid $772 million in criminal penalties to settle the charges. After the FCPA resolution, General Electric bought Alstom’s power business in 2015.

Earlier this month, a federal jury in Connecticut convicted Lawrence Hoskins, a former Alstom vice president, of violating the FCPA and money laundering charges.

Hoskins, 69, is a UK citizen and worked for Alstom in France. He was convicted of violating the FCPA by helping bribe officials in Indonesia on behalf of Alstom’s Connecticut-based subsidiary.

Three other Alstom executives pleaded guilty in the United States to bribing officials in Indonesia.

The SFO investigation into Alstom started in 2009. It was based on information from Switzerland’s Attorney General that implicated the UK subsidiaries.

The SFO said Monday it also received help in the case from France, Canada, the United States, Hungary, Denmark, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, India, Sweden, Lithuania, and Tunisia, among others.

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