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US fines Alstom record US$772m in bribery case
[WASHINGTON] French industrial giant Alstom will plead guilty and pay a record US$772.3 million (S$1.02 billion) penalty in a wide-ranging foreign bribery case, the US Justice Department announced Monday.
Alstom admitted to bribing officials to win power and transportation projects from state-owned entities around the world, including the Bahamas, Egypt, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.
In total, Alstom paid more than US$75 million in bribes to secure US$4 billion in projects around the world with a profit of approximately US$300 million, US prosecutors said.
"Alstom's corruption scheme was sustained over more than a decade and across several continents," said Deputy Attorney General James Cole.
"It was astounding in its breadth, its brazenness and its worldwide consequences." The fine, if approved by a US court, would be the highest ever for foreign bribery under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Justice said the penalty reflected Alstom's failure to voluntarily disclose the conduct, its refusal to cooperate with Justice's probe for several years, the breadth of the misconduct, the lack of an effective compliance programme and its history of prior criminal conduct.
The penalty comes as General Electric nears the completion of a deal to buy most of Alstom's energy assets for 12.4 billion euros (US$15.5 billion).
On Friday, Alstom's shareholders overwhelmingly approved the GE deal.
The agreement is expected to close in the middle of 2015.